Tumblr Is Getting Into Live Video, But It’s Completely Different Than Facebook or Periscope

Inks deal with YouTube, YouNow

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

Yahoo-owned Tumblr wants in on livestreaming, and it's taking a different route than Facebook or Twitter's Periscope app. Today the site is launching a live video feature that will let content creators and brands push their clips to Tumblr.

But unlike live video on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Tumblr does not have a built-in video player. Instead, the site plugs into existing YouNow, YouTube, Kanvas and Upclose content that now appears in dashboards—or feeds of photos, videos and GIFs. TechCrunch was first to break the news yesterday.

"As our peers invest in live video, we want Tumblr to serve as the best publishing and discovery platform for the content—no matter where it's created," Tumblr said in a statement today.

To share a stream on Tumblr, users can click a button from the video app. Once a clip is shared, Tumblr will send out a push notification prompting people to open the app and watch the video, similar to Facebook Live. The video will also stay at the top of dashboards so that it's prominent. Each video can also be saved as a regular video post that lives on Tumblr.

Tumblr is also working with a handful of publishers like MTV, The Huffington Post, Mashable and Refinery29 to help livestream their events and content.

A Tumblr rep said that live video won't be plugged into ads, but the social network has experimented with sponsored clips before. In April, Toyota sponsored a livestream of country music festival Stagecoach on Tumblr and Yahoo.

Instead of taking on Facebook or YouTube head-on, Tumblr seems more interested in working with existing platforms, likely because of its size. According to eMarketer's estimates, Tumblr will have 23.2 million users this year, up from 18.2 million users in 2014. To compare, Facebook will have 162.9 million users this year, up from 153.3 million users. By 2020, Tumblr is expected to have 29.4 million users versus Facebook's 177.5 million users.

@laurenjohnson lauren.johnson@adweek.com Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.