Commentary

Publishers Have Little To Fear From Twitter's Entry Into Newsletters

Twitter Inc.purchased Revue, a self-publishing service that lets writers earn money from email newsletter subscriptions. The social media company's acquisition isn't necessarily a threat to traditional publishers, unless the market for content completely devolves into free agency.
Revue is like Substack in providing software tools for people to create their own email newsletters and manage circulation more easily. Substack has gained attention in the past year. Journalists such as Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Greenwald and Matty Yglesias started newsletters on the platform, which in 2020 started providing a way to obtain legal support for controversial reporting.
Revue and Substack also give writers a way to make money from paid subscriptions. Substack collects a 10% commission on those fees, while Revue had charged 6%. Twitter plans to lower the rate to 5% to urge more people to self-publish on Revue.
These independent newsletters aren't necessarily a threat to established publishers, though the dynamic can vary by type of publication and audience.

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Consumers are more limited in what they're willing to spend on subscriptions, while businesses can spend thousands of dollars a year on newsletters that provide specialized news and value-added analysis. Either way, these subscription-based newsletters cater to a niche audience.

Slightly more than half (53%) of Americans don't subscribe to any email newsletters for news or entertainment content, according to a study by What If Media Group. Paid subscriptions are a deterrent, with about 84% of U.S. consumers saying they aren't willing to pay a fee to access the content they like to read most.
If given a choice between paying for Netflix or a subscription to an email newsletter, only the most ardent fans of a writer are going to sign up. In many cases, they may find greater value in subscribing to a newspaper or magazine with a broader variety of content.
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