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Twitter to Acquire Scroll to Build News Subscription Product

Twitter will acquire Scroll, an ad-free news reader product, as it expands its plans for subscription offerings.

Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Twitter Inc. Report on Tuesday said it would acquire Scroll, an ad-free news reader startup, in a bid to build its paid-subscription service model.

Terms weren't disclosed.

The deal presents an "opportunity for us to introduce this proven model to publishers on our service and make reading the news better for everyone involved," said Vice President of Product Mike Park in a company blog post.

"Scroll will become a meaningful addition to our subscriptions work as we build and shape a future subscription service on Twitter," Park added.

"We plan to include Scroll as part of an upcoming subscription offering we’re currently exploring," Park added.

Scroll works with publishers, including BuzzFeed News, the Atlantic and USA Today  (GCI) - Get Gannett Co. Inc. Report, and offers their stories without ads to paying customers. 

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Twitter said Scroll would temporarily pause new signups. "Following the acquisition, we’ll be working to include their product into our subscription plans and prepare to grow Scroll’s publisher network," said Park.

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Scroll Chief Executive Tony Haile wrote in a separate blog about the deal that he was joining Twitter to speed up his company's mission of providing news consumers with faster load time while helping publishers and journalists make more money.

"Twitter is the only large platform whose success is deeply intertwined with a sustainable journalism ecosystem," the blog post said.

Scroll launched in January 2020. It has offices in New York and Portland, Ore., and is backed by investors including Union Square Ventures. Its 13-member team will join Twitter.

In February, Twitter unveiled Super Follows, a product that enables users to charge followers for access to special content.

Earlier in February Twitter had said it was exploring ways to help users monetize their social equity on the platform. That might come through new content features or payments from followers or a regular subscription as the social media website looked to curtail its dependence on advertising revenue.

Scroll's Nuzzel, which sends daily emails of the top stories that people share in individual Twitter feeds, will shut down on May 6, the company said.

"Twitter has spun up an internal team of Nuzzel acolytes whose goal is to take the best of the Nuzzel experience and build it directly into Twitter," Haile wrote.

Shares of Twitter at last check dropped 2.3% to $53.35.

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