Facebook has launched its very own subscription-based newsletter, Bulletin, to tap into the growing popularity of newsletter services and products. Mark Zuckerberg, who dropped the product news in a live audio call yesterday, said Bulletin is meant for independent writers who would like to reach new audiences and grow their businesses.
The platform, which also includes podcast content, will be active through collaboration with creators from diverse backgrounds, disciplines, and topics. As of the date of launch, Facebook had already signed popular writers like Malcolm Gladwell and stars from TV like former CNN White House correspondent Jessica Yellin.
The launch by Facebook comes a few months after Twitter also acquired Revue, an email service for writers to publish newsletters to their audiences. “With a robust community of writers and readers, Twitter is uniquely positioned to help organizations and writers grow their readership faster and at a much larger scale than anywhere else,” said a Twitter product lead in January.
The script seems to be the same as what Facebook says Bulletin is aiming at, which is “to enable creators to grow their audience in ways that are not exclusively dependent on the Facebook platform”. With Bulletin and Revue, the two tech giants are now in direct competition with the platform Substack, which is a leader in self-publication for writers through email subscriptions. However, there are going to be stack differences with the business models amongst all these services, which will affect their luring powers to creators.
Bulletin is live on a separate website, which means you will not need a Facebook account to subscribe to a newsletter. However, in its bid to continue growing its creator monetization tools, the Facebook infrastructure will come in handy. Facebook Pay will be used in the access to premium subscriptions, purchases, and subscriber-only activities.
The Bulletin service will offer a mix of free and paid content, and they will also not take a cut from the creator’s revenue. At least not yet. The creators will also have the ability to determine their service prices in addition to some of them getting paid upfront. This move is a deviation from Twitter, which is availing Revue Pro’s features free to all accounts but taking a 5% cut on paid newsletters. Substack on the other hand takes a 10% cut on all the paid subscriptions.
Mark Zuckerberg, in his live audio room, termed the new service as a “response to what’s happening in the media ecosystem.” As of the moment, Bulletin is not accepting any signups yet and only features US creators and just two international writers. Bulletin is now available worldwide and Facebook says they will add more creators internationally after the beta test is complete.
It is interesting to note that as a creator, you will be allowed to move with your subscriber list if you eventually choose to move off the Bulletin platform.