Tumblr Launches Live Video With YouTube, YouNow, Other Partners

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Yahoo’s Tumblr is diving into live video — but on the backs of four live-streaming platform partners, not through its own service.

The blogging site is launching live-video support with Google’s YouTube, YouNow, AOL’s Kanvas and Upclose, and says it’s working several media partners and organizations to live-stream dedicated content and events, including Mashable, Refinery29, MTV and AOL’s Huffington Post.

One notable partner missing from Tumblr’s lineup is Periscope, the Twitter-owned live-streaming service that claims users watch 110 years’ worth of video every day and 200 million broadcasts since launching in March 2015. Following the launch, Tumblr is exploring expanding its set of live-streaming partners.

Tumblr Live Video is currently an editorial initiative, but it is currently exploring ways to bring live video to brand partners as an ad offering, according to a rep.

Yahoo acquired Tumblr in 2014, and the blogging platform has north of 550 million monthly users. But Tumblr has struggled to produce revenue and Yahoo — which is in the process of selling itself in an auction — earlier this year said it may write down the remaining $519 million in goodwill from the Tumblr acquisition after previously taking a $230 million charge in the fourth quarter of 2015.

With the launch, Tumblr now has a foothold in live video, although it’s dependent on partners. Live video has been a major strategic push for Facebook and Twitter, both of which are seeking to bring more content partners into the fold. In 2008, Yahoo launched a live-streaming service of its own called “Yahoo Live” (which is now the umbrella brand for the site’s live events) that may just have been ahead of its time: The Internet company folded the user-broadcasting service in less than a year.

Tumblr users who share live video from YouNow, Kanvas, Upclose or YouTube (which is available initially only for Android devices, with iOS support coming in a few days) will have their followers see a push notification if they’re live or if they reblog a live video. The live video will be pinned in the first position at the top of followers’ Dashboards on web and mobile while it’s live.

If users choose to save the replay of their video on the live video provider app, the live video will live on their Tumblr as a regular video post that can be replayed shortly after the live video session concludes.

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