Commentary

Should Publishers Worry About Twitter's Content Strategy?

Twitter this week began offering a local weather report called "Tomorrow," providing another sign of its strategy to expand into paid content. Meteorologist and climate journalist Eric Holthausstarted the weather news service, which includes a paid tier to let subscribers ask unlimited questions about severe forecasts, he announced in a tweet.

"Tomorrow" is available in 16 cities throughout North America, relying on 18 local meteorologists to provide information about the weather, according to Axios, which broke the story about the launch. The service will rely on Twitter's various software tools to distribute free and paid email newsletters and to host live audio chats during extreme weather events.

Holthaus, whose writing credits include The Grist, The Wall Street Journal and Slate, is currently the only full-time employee of "Tomorrow." He plans to add four part-time editors and enlist 20 to 30 writers to cover weather and climate.
"Tomorrow" offers a free email newsletter and a version for $10 a month that includes extra benefits, such as a members-only newsletter, early access to podcasts and the ability to ask unlimited questions about the weather and climate, according to its website.
The launch of "Tomorrow" is notable for its ambitions to grow using Twitter's platform to create and monetize original content. Twitter this year acquired email newsletter platform Revue, a rival to Substack, to offer content creators a way to distribute their work. The social-media company also created Twitter Spaces to host live audio chat rooms, similar to those on Clubhouse.
Whether "Tomorrow" can convince subscribers to pay $10 a month for information that's freely available on other platforms is debatable. The platform will have to differentiate itself with exclusive content and other services, such as letting readers ask questions of weather experts, to be viable.
However, weather coverage is well suited for Twitter, whose focus on immediacy has made the platform a source for breaking news and trending topics.

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During extreme weather-related events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and brush fires, many people share their pictures and videos on Twitter. If "Tomorrow" manages to become self-sustaining as a subscription business, it would indicate Twitter can expand beyond a reliance on user-generated content that's free and abundant.

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