As Twitter tries tips, Clubhouse invests in news 

Future News 105

Jack Dorsey has always been a bit of a mystery, that’s perhaps why you shouldn’t be surprised by Twitter’s latest announcement.

The $42bn market cap’ social media company is trying out a new tip function, allowing users to financially support their favourite creators, including journalists, via Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal and/or Venmo. 

Twitter, which, let’s not forget, is effectively the sister company of Dorsey’s other venture Square, won’t take a cut. Well, at least not for now and that is all where it gets hazy.

How many people among its 199m daily active users are taking part in the Tip Jar trial, when will a new cohort be rolled-out and will Twitter eventually take a slice of the tips? The business is keeping schtum on all of that. 

However, a Twitter spokesperson did tell FN: “To start, only select accounts will see the option to add Tip Jar when they tap Edit profile. We’re starting with a test group of individual experts, creators and emerging voices on the platform, including Spaces hosts.” 

Meanwhile, Clubhouse, Twitter’s audio equivalent, is making a number of interesting developments and putting Andreessen Horowitz’s money to good use. The platform is expanding onto Android devices, while potentially investing in new journalism-focused shows as part of its Creator First Program. 

The initiative will see pilots of Katrina Mitzeliotis Lanza’s The Pop Spot, an entertainment news show, and Rick Smolan’s A Thousand Words, conversations with the world’s leading photojournalists, air on Monday 10 May. Here’s how Clubhouse is going to help the creators:

Equipment and creative

  • If you need a new iPhone, iRig or AirPod Pros, we’ll send them to you

  • Concept and creative development with the Clubhouse team

  •  Matching you to guests and talent for your shows and events 

Helping you promote your show, with 

  • Design services for creative assets 

  • Promotion within and off of Clubhouse 

  • Support in building your audience 

Ensuring you are financially supported, by

  • Providing a monthly stipend and matching you with brands so you can turn your idea into a profitable creative endeavour

It’s unclear how many current daily, weekly monthly active users Clubhouse has. FN asked the company, which launched in early 2020, the question to no avail. At the start of the year Clubhouse investor Andrew Chen said it had 2m weekly users. 

“There’s a lot still to do to bring Clubhouse to every corner of the world and continually broaden the topics people might want to speak to or listen to. It’s going to be an exciting ride,” he cautioned

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💼 Jobs and business

  • The Times and Sunday Times closing digital subscribers as of 31 March 2021 were 354,000, News Corp revealed in its latest results. The Sun had 119m global monthly unique users in March 2021, compared to 164m in the prior year – a decrease of 27%. The New York Post also saw its own dip, posting 139m unique users in March 2021, compared to 199m in the prior year – a decrease of more than 30%. But The Wall Street Journal grew 21% compared to the prior year, to a record 3.38m average subscriptions in the quarter.

  • The New York Times now has 7.8m total subscribers, but they’ve slowed since Trump left office, the company’s first-quarter results revealed. Operating profit also increased to $51.7m  in the first quarter of 2021 from $27.3m in the same period of 2020. The company had cash and marketable securities of $890.7m for the period, so plenty of money on hand for potential acquisitions of outlets and/or talent. 

  • The FT looks at how you can build a mini-media empire on Substack thanks to its new functions. The platform is also looking for its first Head of Communications, who will report to COO Hamish McKenzie.

  • Former top BBC exec Kamal Ahmed is helping launch News Movement, a new anti-misinformation start-up. Seed funding comes via Will Lewis, the former head of Dow Jones. The start-up will apparently share a percentage of story revenue with its journalists, The Telegraph reported.

  • Twitter is acquiring Scroll, the ad-blocking subscription service. The move comes after it bought Revue, a Netherlands-based Substack rival. 

  • The Athletic is reportedly no longer hoping to merge with Axios.

  • Sports and Star Trek gives Paramount+ a subscription boost

  • Why Steve O’Hear is swapping journalism for a start-up.

  • Q&A with Vox’s new Editor-in-Chief.

  • The Guardian hits 200.

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📧 Contact

For high-praise, tips or gripes, please contact the editor at or via @ianjsilvera. Follow on LinkedIn here. 

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