Twitter acquires distraction-free reading service Scroll to beef up its subscription product

Twitter this morning announced it’s acquiring Scroll, a subscription service that offers readers a better way to read through long-form content on the web, by removing ads and other website clutter that can slow down the experience. The service will become a part of Twitter’s larger plans to invest in subscriptions, the company says, and will later be offered as one of the premium features Twitter will provide to subscribers.

Premium subscribers will be able to use Scroll to easily read their articles from news outlets and from Twitter’s own newsletters product, Revue, another recent acquisition that’s already been integrated into Twitter’s service. When subscribers use Scroll through Twitter, a portion of their subscription revenue would go to support the publishers and the writers creating the content, explains Twitter in an announcement.

The service today works across hundreds of sites, including The Atlantic, The Verge, USA Today, The Sacramento Bee, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Daily Beast, among others. For readers, the experience of using Scroll is similar to that of a “reader view” — ads, trackers, and other website junk is stripped so readers can focus on the content.

Image Credits: Twitter

Scroll’s pitch to publishers has been that it can end up delivering cleaner content that can make them more money than advertising alone.

Deal terms were not disclosed, but Twitter will be bringing on the entire Scroll team, totalling 13 people.

For the time being, Scroll will pause new customer sign-ups so it can focus on integrating its product into Twitter’s subscriptions work and prepare for the expected growth. It will, however, continue to onboard new publishers who want to participate in Scroll’s network, following the deal’s closure.

And Scroll itself will be headed back into private beta as the team works to integrate the product into Twitter.

Twitter says it will also be winding down Scroll’s news aggregator Nuzzel product, but will work to bring some of Nuzzel’s core elements to Twitter over time.

“Twitter exists to serve the public conversation. Journalism is the mitochondria of that conversation. It initiates, energizes and informs. It converts and confounds perspectives. At its best it helps us stand in one another’s shoes and understand each other’s common humanity,” said Tony Haile, Scroll CEO, in the company’s post about Scroll’s acquisition. “The mission we’ve been given by Jack and the Twitter team is simple: take the model and platform that Scroll has built and scale it so that everyone who uses Twitter has the opportunity to experience an internet without friction and frustration, a great gathering of people who love the news and pay to sustainably support it,” he added.

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