Telegram to monetize app next year as it approaches 500 mn users

WhatsApp rival Telegram is looking for ways to make money by introducing new features in 2021 which will be paid for by Premium users. Telegram founder Pavel Durov said in a statement that the messaging app requires appropriate funding as it is on track to reach billions of users globally.

Even though Telegram is looking to generate revenue, Durov made it clear that all features that are currently free will stay free and all parts of the platform devoted to messaging will also remain ad-free. “We will add some new features for business teams or power users. Some of these features will require more resources and will be paid for by these premium users. Regular users will be able to keep enjoying Telegram – for free, forever,” Durov said.

Telegram Messenger was founded by Pavel Durov and  Nikolai Durov in 2013. While it began as a niche application focused on secret messaging, Telegram now has close to 500 million active users worldwide. Durov revealed that he paid for most of Telegram’s history from his own personal savings but given the platform’s growth, it now requires some way to earn money.

“When a tech project reaches this scale, typically there are two options – start earning money to cover the costs, or sell the company.” However, Durov has clarified that he is not going to sell the company.

For instance, Telegram could monetize large public one-to-many channels via the Ad Platform, which could also benefit the owners of the channels as they will receive free traffic. The company is also experimenting with the idea of premium stickers by artists who will also get a part of the profit.

On the seventh anniversary of its launch, Telegram announced end-to-end encrypted video calling for Android and iOS apps. In addition to video calling features, additional animated emoji options were also added in the app’s updated version. Video call can be placed from a contact’s profile page. Picture-in-picture mode is supported as well, which allows users to scroll through chats and multi-task while on a call. Group calling is not supported as of now, like WhatsApp, which allows video calling with up to eight participants.

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