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In October Telegram started offering ads on large channels with more than 1000 users.
Today Telegram CEO Pavel Durov announced plans for a companion subscription service that would allow users to avoid seeing ads.
He posted the following message on the service:
Many users have suggested introducing the ability to disable official advertisements in Telegram channels. Today we are announcing two more changes:
1. Users will be able to disable official advertisements.
We have already started work on this new feature and look forward to launching it this month. It can be issued in the form of an inexpensive subscription, which will allow any user to directly financially support the development of Telegram and never see official advertisements in the channels.
2. Channel authors will be able to turn off official advertisements in their channels for all users.
Some channel creators would also like to “turn off” advertisements in their channels for all users. At the moment, we are calculating the economic conditions for this option. Advertisers will soon be able to place an “invisible” ad on any channel that – assuming there is sufficient cost per impression – will result in no ads on that channel.
We will continue to work on features that will allow Telegram to break even. The interests of users and content authors will remain our priority in this process.
The second scheme appeared somewhat less straightforward but appears to allow channel owners or sponsors to pay to not display ads on their channel.
Both plans are still in development, but both schemes are somewhat ironic given that Telegram originally launched with the promise of always being free and never showing ads.