Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) is about to make a new asset buy. Via its official company blog, Twitter announced Tuesday that it is acquiring Scroll, an early-stage company whose major product is an e-reading app.
In the post, written by the company’s vice president of product Mike Park, Twitter did not disclose how much it is paying for Scroll.
Park did say that the app will become part of a planned subscription offering, which the company intends to launch later this year. Details are still somewhat fuzzy, and user pricing is a big question mark; what’s apparent is that this product will center around Revue, a business that Twitter acquired in January. This is an online publishing platform, with which users can create and publish newsletters.
As for Scroll, the company has developed an app that lets users read online articles stripped of pop-ups, ads, and various other web debris that interfere with the digital literary experience. With the Twitter acquisition, Scroll has temporarily stopped accepting new sign-ups for its service. It’s unclear how exactly it’ll be woven into Twitter’s subscription offering; Park described it only as a “meaningful addition” to the product.
Twitter is famous (some would say infamous) as a micro-messaging broadcast platform. But that short form makes it tough to be “sticky” for visitors. If the company can develop an app that will keep readers in its ecosystem for longer than just a quick shot at one or several tweets, it will have that much more opportunity to derive revenue from them.
The company has an immense user and reader base, but its growth isn’t all that inspiring relative to other high-profile tech companies, and it has struggled with profitability. Perhaps that new subscription service will help reverse those trends.
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