One cent per character : Will celebrities help Twitter monetise?

So as expected twitter has finally started talking more concretely about its revenue strategies interestingly they have taken to advertising (promoted tweets) as the primary driver along with some exploration into paid accounts. This is an article that talks about these in some detail.

I somehow feel that it is the celebrity accounts of twitter that can give it its much needed revenue stream. Think of the number of followers that celebrities on twitter have generated. Shashi Tharoor ( India’s external affairs minister) has 715,000 followers, Priyanka Chopra ( a bollywood actress) has 250,000 and so on so forth. Even celebrities with a niche appeal say popular journalists (Like Thomas Friedman has over 50,000 followers). So What?

What if twitter begins to charge everyone who has greater than a certain follower base size, a small amount of money on a fixed basis? Would these guys pay? I am sure their respective PR companies will advise them to pay. After all some 750,000 Indians chose to invest their time in receiving updates about their foreign minister’s activities . Can priyanka chopra choose to ignore her fan base of 250,000 people now that she has started actively engaging with them?

I would be interested in answers.


Author: harshT

Assistant Professor

5 thoughts on “One cent per character : Will celebrities help Twitter monetise?”

  1. @ Abhijit, its an important point you make – so Twitter is like say Network Television Station and Priyanka Chopra is a program that has many viewers ( ie followers) – and Dove is a brand that can chose to use that channel for a certain message by intelligently integrating into Priyanka’s tweets!

  2. we had this conversation at work. as it happens we are seized with the complexity of tapping into celebrities on twitter. but the model is a bit different. The idea is to sign on celebrities who already have a large fan base and then control some of the content with respect to the brands that they are paid to represent. i know your concern in the post is how to monetize these accounts for twitter and i think that instead of asking celebrities to pay (it never happens; that’s the point of the celebrity!!) ask corporates to pay a certain rate for branded tweets. Say, if a particular anglo dutch soap maker wanted to use priyanka to rave about her morning bath and the fragrance of the soap she used, they pay twitter as Twitter, could, otherwise adopt the policy of deleting branded tweets in the interest of readers/consumers.

  3. Ram,
    Its not about paying to use twitter as a promotional tool , but more like charging heavy users a small amount to support the service ( think of it like a Flickr pro account or a Google docs > 1 GB storage etc etc )

  4. Couple of points:

    1. you mention a minister. As a public setrvant, if he chooses to advertise over the internet, there will be an outcry. Hence he may migrate to older platforms (e.g. Blogging)

    2. If someone has to pay for Tweeting (celebrity with follower bases) , then isnt it a purely marketing tool . Currently millions of users follow the tweets because they believe that , they are unbiased and reflect the thought of the person.

    other options to monitize ?

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