Twitter bets on new data business product to revive revenue

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(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. is doubling down on its data business with a new service that gives software developers more access to the social media company’s wealth of information.

Twitter has long offered a way for brands or researchers to analyze events, sentiment and customer service. But an enterprise version for big brands was too expensive for developers, while a free version didn’t provide enough data. So the company is now offering a product that starts at $149 and will eventually give developers the full history of Twitter, all the way back to co-founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet in 2006.

Rob Johnson, director of product data and enterprise solutions, says the new service will help the company figure out what kind of products developers want to build as well as help secure Twitter against abuse.

The service will also generate new revenue at a company struggling to expand beyond a niche group of users. The data and enterprise business has emerged as Twitter’s fastest-growing area. Data licensing and other revenue grew 22 percent to $87 million in the third quarter, representing 15 percent of total revenue.

Initially, Twitter will offer a beta version of the service that gives subscribers access to just the last 30 days of data. Developers seeking access to the new service will need to provide more information about themselves and how they plan to use the data, which wasn’t necessary to access the free version. That should help the company catch more malicious users at sign-up.

Bloomberg News