Telegram is reportedly working on a Premium version as the messaging app is struggling to find a steady revenue model. According to Android Police, the Telegram team is already testing Telegram Premium, an extended version of the app with exclusive reactions and emojis, for iOS devices.
The report says the premium version is currently in beta mode and the only difference between standard and upgraded versions is a range of reaction emoji and stickers that have been marked as Telegram Premium exclusives.
Exclusive emojis. Source: t.me
However, the free version of Telegram won't support these upgrades, which means that even if a premium subscriber sends exclusive emojis, the recipient won't see them without signing up for the premium subscriprion. According to reports, Telegram is also testing a kit to make more unique stickers with different backgrounds.
As of press time, Telegram made no official statement regarding the matter. For Telegram, this is another attempt to monetize its app as the company from the very beginning positioned the app as freeware.
In November 2021, Telegram introduced ads within public channels of 1,000+. Telegram Co-Founder later highlighted that unlike WhatsApp, advertisers on Telegram "will never get your private data." Durov added:
Besides, if you use Telegram the way you use WhatsApp, you will never see a single ad. Sponsored messages can only appear in channels, which are a unique social networking feature Telegram added several years after launch.
One way or the other, Telegram seems to be following Discord's monetization model. The popular service for voice calls also has a premium version dubbed Discord Nitro, which is basically a subscription that gives users an expanded access to emoji, improved badges and avatars.
Read also: Telegram brings revolution to its bots