Pinterest to foray into live streaming with a 3-day virtual test event

By Sayujya S, Desk Reporter
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The American social media and image sharing service Pinterest is expanding into live events.

The company is planning to host a three-day virtual event that will feature live streamed sessions from top creators. The virtual event will run inside the Pinterest app from May 24th through May 25th, and will serve as the company’s first public test of directly streaming creator content to its more than 475 million global users.

The rise of the creator economy and a pandemic-fueled demand for virtual events led Pinterest to explore the idea of live streaming. Last year, it began testing a “class communities” feature that allowed users to sign up for Zoom classes through Pinterest, while creators used Pinterest’s boards to organize materials, notes and other resources. These communities also included a group chat option and shopping features.

The new live streamed sessions will operate a bit differently.

Live streamed sessions

For starters, they’re not directing users off-site to Zoom for the sessions. Instead, users will launch the livestreaming experience directly inside Pinterest mobile app and remain there during the sessions. Pinterest users can also comment to interact with the creator during their stream, but there is no longer any shopping functionality, Pinterest said.

The livestreams allow up to five “guests” and an unlimited number of viewers. Meanwhile, moderators, which may include Pinterest employees, during this test, will help to control the experience. They will also have the ability to remove people from the chat if they do not uphold Pinterest’s Community Standards.

The forthcoming event’s lineup will focus on a variety of topics, including food, design, cooking, style and more. In total, Pinterest will feature around 21 creators throughout the three-day event, with around seven different sessions per day. Users will be directed to the live event via a new “Live” tab inside the Pinterest app for iOS and Android, where they can view the schedule and join sessions.

Growing focus on content creators

However, Pinterest isn’t discussing how it views the potential for live events longer-term. For the time being, it’s not offering tools that could attract creators away from other platforms where they can monetize their fans through features like donations, tips, virtual gifts, paid ticketing, subscriptions or brand partnerships via a creator marketplace. Without such options, Pinterest could have a hard time competing for creators’ attention.

Nearly every big tech platform today is making a play for creators, and some are even willing to throw cash at them to win them over. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter are all building out features that let creators do more than build an audience to monetize through ads or brand deals. Now, fans can send creators money during or after streams, subscribe for exclusive content, pay for access and more, depending on the platform.

New types of creator services are emerging, too, including the audio chat room experience pioneered by Clubhouse, as well as dozens of virtual events startups hoping to win the market.

Related: TikTok looks to dethrone Facebook with in-app shopping


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