• 06.21.16

Live Video Comes To Tumblr

Tumblr is using YouTube, Upclose, YouNow, and Kanvas to power its live-streaming feature.

Live Video Comes To Tumblr
[Photo: courtesy of Tumblr]

Now you can stream and watch live video on Tumblr. The blogging site began rolling out live video support Tuesday morning, with everyone on the service expected to have the ability to broadcast themselves directly into their followers’ dashboards by the end of the day.


Rather than build its own live video tool, like Facebook did with Facebook Live, Tumblr is instead powering its live streaming feature through other sites, with support from YouTube, Upclose, Kanvas, and YouNow. Streams can be posted using iOS or Android devices from any of the services, with the exception of YouTube, which is Android-only for now (iOS support is expected in a few days).

When anyone you follow on the service goes live, Tumblr will notify you via push notification on your phone and pin the video to the top of your dashboard. If you do overlook a broadcast, posts will be archived so you can watch them later on. Live videos can also be reblogged just like any other post, so you can share something particularly interesting with your followers both before and after they happen. If you share while a live broadcast is going on, then your followers will be notified about the stream as well.

How It Works

The first step in broadcasting live on Tumblr is to download one of the supported apps (YouTube, Upclose, Kanvas, or YouNow). Within each app you’ll then have to go into the settings menu and select Tumblr as a sharing option. The actual process varies a bit from service to service, but you’ll have to manually authorize each app within its respective settings before you’ll be able to share directly to Tumblr from it.

Once you do connect your account, you’ll be able to toggle between different Tumblr blogs you run (everyone has a few, right?) within the third-party app’s settings. The service from which you’re broadcasting will also be noted with a badge on the video itself. If a user taps on that badge, they’ll be taken to a page where they can download the app (and start broadcasting) themselves.

Videos can be as long or as short as you’d like, with the only requirement being that they don’t contain content that violates Tumblr’s community guidelines. Pretty simple.

To celebrate the new feature, Tumblr plans on broadcasting some “live entertainment” on its staff Tumblr starting at 4 p.m. ET, including basketball lessons from a Harlem Globetrotter and a live broadcast from the surface of Mars. It’s also already working with a few partners on live stream events and content, including MTV, Refinery29, and Mashable.


About the author

Emily is a journalist based in San Francisco.