X — despite getting blasted over its “X Premium” subscription service that charges users for their blue checkmarks — is now making nearly a quarter of its revenue from premium subscriptions and data licensing, On The Money has learned.
It wasn’t immediately clear how much of the new business at Elon Musk’s company, formerly known as Twitter, is coming from paid subscriptions versus data licensing, and insiders suspect the latter accounts for the lion’s share.
Previously, X made less than 10% of its revenue from data licensing agreements and didn’t make anything from subscriptions, sources said.
Over the last year X has renegotiated data licensing deals with Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Oracle, Microsoft, and Bloomberg to charge heftier fees.
The agreements allow the companies to scrape data from X to enhance their own products, for example enabling Google searches to display relevant results from X.
As X gears up to introduce its new artificial intelligence chatbot Grok – and increase the cost of monthly subscriptions to $16.99 from $7.99 in order to access the chatbot – it expects to see subscriptions bring in a greater share of its revenue, sources said.
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Since X is private, it doesn’t disclose its profits, revenues, or data about the number of users it has. Third-party estimates suggest ad revenue has dropped more than 50%, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
Company sources dispute those numbers. They also dispute third-party data that suggests active monthly users have decreased 15% year over year to 183 million.
Musk has tweeted that the social network has 550 million active monthly users and that the company has gotten 4% new signups in the last year.
Musk, a “free speech absolutist,” has struggled to figure out how to moderate content on the platform – scaring away advertisers as a result. The company has explored a number of ways to increase revenue – including letting users pay to eliminate ads.
Sources at the company believe efforts to diversify income streams and charge for new services like editing Tweets, writing longer posts, and the ability to upload longer videos – will continue to pay off.
A spokesperson for the company declined to comment.