13 January 2021
Telegram is one of the world's most widely used instant messaging apps. It is a direct rival to the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger but it has not been making any revenue so far. This will change from the next year as Telegram creator Pawel Durow has made its intentions to generate revenue from the app public.
In a message sent through Durow's official Telegram channel, he started off by revealing that Telegram is fast approaching the 500 million active users mark. This is undoubtedly a huge achievement for the company but that also brings a problem of providing seamless support and a smooth user experience to all the users. Durow says "a few hundred million dollars per year" are needed to do so and he has been supporting the platform from his own pocket until now.
Since Telegram is en route to the 1 billion users mark, he has no choice but to look for ways to get the necessary funds. He also has the option of selling the company as WhatsApp founders did years ago when they signed a deal with Facebook. Durow says he will not go that path and wants to keep Telegram as an independent company. This is why he is exploring ways of generating revenue through means like offering premium features and showing ads.
The post does not mention what those premium features will be but assured that they will be restricted to business and power users. It means regular users will not experience any difference and will continue to have completely free access to all the Telegram features. As for the ads, these will be shown in one-to-many channels and will not be used for individual and group conversations. The company will set up its own ad network to ensure that these ads are non-intrusive and respectful of user privacy.