Tumblr goes all out into live video

The Yahoo-owned platform has integrated competing streamers like YouTube Live and Kanvas, with content deals from Mashable and Refinery29.
July 7, 2016

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

That’s the philosophy that Yahoo-owned blogging platform Tumblr is taking when it comes to live video.

The site’s new live video function, which began rolling out late last month, doesn’t have an in-app feature like early leaders in the live space, Facebook or YouTube (which recently unveiled direct-mobile streaming at the recent VidCon event in Anaheim). Instead, Tumblr has integrated competing live-streamers like YouTube Live, YouNow, Kanvas and Upclose. Users can record live video in those apps and, if they select the option, the content will stream directly to Tumblr.

Like Facebook and YouTube, live videos can be saved to watch at a later date.

The roll-out to live for most of Tumblr’s users will happen gradually. In the meantime, 15 content partners have signed on to bring live-streamed content exclusively to Tumblr — with partners including Mashable, AOL, Refinery29 and Time Out.

Live streaming has become one of the hottest trends in digital content this year — even Today Show meteorologist Al Roker has gotten in on the game, launching Roker Media, a dedicated live-streaming network for brands.

Yahoo purchased Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion, a move that many have been critical of (Bloomberg has asserted that Yahoo overvalued the platform, and Yahoo itself, following its Q4 earnings call earlier this year, has said that it may have to write down the goodwill value of the property.)

However, following a tumultuous financial year that’s left the company accepting bids on a sale, Yahoo has identified Tumblr as one of its three areas for potential growth.

Like its now-rivals Facebook and YouTube, Tumblr is a free-to-use platform supported by ads. According to its own statistics, the platform boasts 550 million monthly active users, with 69% of users falling in the millennial demographic.

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