- Tumblr has tapped a livestreaming solution from The Meet Group amid a new push into video, according to a news release.
- Powered by Livebox, Tumblr Live is already available to U.S. users, with plans for a global rollout. Livebox provides capabilities around video creation and monetization for brands and creators while reviewing content through a mix of artificial intelligence and human moderators.
- A heavier video investment from the microblogging platform comes as it tries to capture a fresh crop of users and advertisers under new ownership and as rivals see audiences flee.
Tumblr is making a bet on livestreaming with The Meet Group, entering a crowded field of social media competitors that includes Amazon’s Twitch — the category leader — Google’s YouTube and ByteDance’s TikTok. In terms of the types of livestreams the platform is excited about, video game sessions, book club discussions and Dungeons & Dragons games received callouts.
The Meet Group is the video unit of ParshipMeet Group, which owns dating websites like eHarmony. Livebox, the solution Tumblr is leveraging to integrate livestreaming, was launched in 2019 under the former name of vPaaS and is today billed as one of ParshipMeet Group’s fastest-growing businesses.
The idea behind the partnership is to not only let creators and brands quickly start live broadcasts, but also monetize their work. Livebox allows users to give virtual gifts through acts like “tipping,” a common tactic for helping livestreaming creators earn a living. Livebox is also promising moderation safeguards, as well as talent support to recruit and retain a stable base of creators.
The news offers another sign that Tumblr wants to recapture a larger share of online engagement and become a bigger name in the advertising game, an area where it’s previously seen little success, as reported in The Wall Street Journal. However, the strategy arrives as Twitter, another microblogging service, sees brands jump ship due to issues with new owner Elon Musk and his volatile leadership style.
Tumblr has had a bumpy history of its own, being bought by Yahoo for $1.1 billion in 2013, quickly written down and then eventually sold off to Verizon as part of the telecom’s takeover of the technology firm years later. The site was then acquired for a “nominal amount” — reportedly less than $3 million — by Automattic, which is best known for operating rival WordPress, in 2019.
Tumblr in its heyday was a magnet for fan groups and enthusiasts who used the microblogging format to carp about their pop culture interests. But the focus on free-form discussion and content sharing often rubbed up against business goals. Under Verizon’s ownership, the platform banned pornography, resulting in a user exodus.
Automattic could encounter similar troubles in the video arena, as user-generated livestreaming is notoriously difficult to moderate. Tumblr is introducing certain features to combat toxicity, such as the ability for creators to make their most trusted viewers “bouncers” who keep streams in check.