Elon Musk published a new announcement on his X account earlier today, October 20, announcing two new tiers for the X Premium subscription.
Musk’s announcement finally confirmed rumors about the prospect of new X features that spread through the social media platform over the past few weeks after sleuths found code that suggested new subscription tiers were coming.
According to the platform’s owner, one of the tiers will have a lower cost but will still come with essentially all the features that you get with a regular premium subscription. The biggest difference is that it won’t reduce the number of ads you see on X.
The pricier subscription tier with include all of the same features and will completely remove ads from your user experience. The existing premium subscription plan, which Musk charges $8 per month for, currently only removes 50% of the ads you see on the platform.
Two new tiers of X Premium subscriptions launching soon.
One is lower cost with all features, but no reduction in ads, and the other is more expensive, but has no ads.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 20, 2023
These new plans will give users more choices to fit their preferences. The top plan will allow users to eliminate ads entirely if they want to pay more to do so. The post did not specify the prices of the new tiers at this time but this information will likely be released soon so keep an eye out.
Musk’s Announcement Confirms the Rumors
The announcement did not come as a significant surprise, as several reports have stated that X is experimenting with different tiers.
One emerged earlier this month when an X user, @aaronp613, uncovered references to three premium tiers while studying the platform’s code.
X Premium will be broken up into 3 tiers:
Premium Basic – Full Ads
Premium Standard – Half Ads
Premium Plus – No Ads pic.twitter.com/I0CyaQf2ME
— Aaron (@aaronp613) October 5, 2023
Meanwhile, Bloomberg published a report stating that X is testing several new paid plans designed to bring more revenue to the platform and offer a unique experience to the platform’s subscribers.
The confirmation shows that Musk and X are looking for new ways of increasing their profits by building greater customization into the subscription tiers. Only a few days earlier, X started testing a small paywall for even the most basic features of the site (like liking, posting, and reposting) that would require users to pay $1 per year.
The tier launched in New Zealand and the Philippines for early tests but it may eventually spread to other countries if it works well. While this would effectively mean that X is no longer as accessible, the price is incredibly low, and it would surely reduce the number of bots on the platform which has been a sore point for X for years.
With a $1 per year price tag, this change was not meant to be a profit driver in and of itself but if it’s successful and is expanded to the rest of X’s users, it could bring in a decent chunk of change every year.
X is Seeing Constant Drops in Ad Revenue
In a report published in October, Reuters stated that X is seeing significant drops in ad revenue. This has been an issue ever since Elon Musk purchased the platform and started to scare away advertisers. Given that the revenue has been struggling and that it has to pay massive loan payments (from Musk’s acquisition), it’s not surprising that the company is looking for ways to increase its earnings.
The advertisers that remain could no longer support the platform for long, forcing the company to try to squeeze revenue out of its users.
However, X is far from giving up on attracting advertisers. One attempt to make the platform more interesting came from publishing metrics that look appealing, encouraging, and inviting. Apart from that, X also hired Linda Yaccarino — a former NBCU executive — as CEO who has reportedly brought back a large number of advertisers who left following Musk’s acquisition.
Other Platforms are also Considering Premium Subscriptions
While X is leading the charge regarding premium plans, it is far from the only company that might do so shortly. Meta is reportedly also considering an ad-free tier, which the company might have to introduce due to a German Court ruling that found that its collection of user data was illegal and breaking the GDPR.
The court was concerned about social media platforms collecting user data without the users’ consent as well as the abuse of Meta’s market position that it used to gather and use user data. If large numbers of users refuse to opt our of providing user data, ads will become less targeted and thus less effective. Thus advertisers will pay less of a premium on each ad, losing Meta a potentially massive chunk of its revenue.
If this happens, the company will likely start implementing ad-free subscription plans on Facebook and Instagram to try to make some of that revenue back.
A similar situation surrounds TikTok, which also confirmed recently that it is testing a new tier that would feature no ads on the platform. The EU Court ruling might even be one of the reasons why X has created its premium tiers, although the company hasn’t clarified its exact reasoning.
X Users Hate It Already
Musk’s announcement regarding the premium tiers immediately attracted some negative attention from the platform’s community. Many have criticized the platform for becoming a “pay-to-speak” site, while others seem dissatisfied that X is not doing more to eliminate censorship or improve customer support.
It's slowly becoming a pay-to-speak platform.
— god (@IAM__NONSO) October 20, 2023
A few responses supported the idea, such as one comment that said that ads are a time waste and that time is limited, which makes the user willing to pay to avoid them. One user even pointed out that paying to remove ads is standard on many platforms, implying that X’s decision is not as outlandish as some believe.
This is actually a really solid idea. Paying for ad removal is standard on many platforms.
— MADkurious (@MADkurious) October 20, 2023