Blog Post

@ EconSM: How Twitter Plans To Make Money From Search, Carriers and Content

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

imageWe’ve gotten hints about Twitter’s business model from its founders, its backers and random speculators — but Kevin Thau, Twitter’s director of mobile business development, gave EconSM attendees a more tangible picture of the startup’s plans for a three-pronged revenue stream: It’s about search, carriers and content.

Thau joined Twitter in mid-January, since then, he said the company has brokered about a dozen business deals with partners like mobile service providers, handset makers and even media companies. MarketWatch’s EIC David Callaway grilled him on the details:

Search: Twitter’s real-time search capabilities have been well-documented (so much so, that even *Google* has stepped up its real-time search features); Thau said the startup will monetize its search traffic “in some way” — though he didn’t elaborate.

Carriers: Much of Twitter’s traffic comes from mobile: both through data plans and via SMS. Thau said getting some sort of a cut of the carriers’ data business wouldn’t be a huge source of revenue — but definitely a portion. Twitter’s also working on handset deals that would “integrate the service” into certain devices right out of the box.

Content: MTV is sharing ad revs from an upcoming show with Twitter, so will we see an influx of similar content deals? (Note: MTV has since noted that rev-share talks between the two companies were not finalized, and that Twitter will not be getting a cut of the ad sales for the foreseeable future) Thau said yes — which is partly why they hired a new exec to focus on the media/entertainment business. “The media industry is looking for ways to stay fresh and interactive; you’re already seeing CNN and ABC (NYSE: DIS) Nightline using it, and we think more media companies will start using Twitter as a utility.”