We’ve speculated as to whether Twitter would charge for premium features, but what are the possibilities of Facebook offering a premium, ad-free version of its service?
More and more people are getting comfortable with paying for services online. Spotify has 3 million paid users on its service. Netflix has 25 million users streaming content. Facebook is a service that many people see as essential in their daily lives.
Of course, if Facebook announced a premium version, there would be uproar. It would attract a lot of heat from the press, and the general consensus would be that people will not pay.
But some people would pay — people like rich urbanites who already pay many premiums for online services. These people have all of the latest Apple products and get their groceries delivered via FreshDirect. These people happily part with their money for the best of the best.
Let’s say even 0.5 percent of Facebook’s 900 million-plus monthly active users had no qualms about paying to use the social network — one-half of one percent. That tiny percentage represents 4.5 million people.
Now let’s say a premium service on Facebook was priced at the modest fee of $2 per month. I’ll spare you the math by telling you that this amounts to more than $100 million of revenue per year. That’s money not even Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg would laugh at.
When I think of what could be part of Facebook Premium, I can imagine an ad-free experience, a customizable layout, more control over your personal information, a dislike button, or a whole host of advanced features dreamed up at the latest Facebook hackathon.
I would never pay for Facebook. You probably wouldn’t, either. But if Facebook’s ad revenue starts to drop and investors become unhappy, this is an option that Zuckerberg & Co. could not ignore.
Readers: Would you pay for premium features on Facebook? Do you think this is a possibility?
Donal O’Conghaile is a social media specialist at a New York-based startup. Find him on Twitter at @oconghd.
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