Yahoo is still denying its plans to turn Tumblr into a YouTube killer. While we’re not sure that anything could kill our beloved Google-backed video giant it certainly looks like Tumblr is gearing up to play with the big kids of online video. Its notoriously buggy video player is getting a facelift courtesy of some new features. These aren’t just minor adjustments; it’s a Renee Zellweger level update that’ll make Tumblr video look like a whole different animal.
Looping: Maybe it’s Vine that should watch its back now that Tumblr is on the prowl. Yahoo announced a new feature that will GIF-ify its videos, making them loop over and over again. This mechanic has served Vine and Instagram well by making them a cozy home for ultra shortform videos. Tumblr is already the internet’s GIF emporium, which proves that looping content is popular with users. Adding this mechanism could be the key to inspiring the Tumblrati to create more user generated video content.
Pop-Out Video: Yahoo hasn’t neglected to account for Tumblr’s most familiar mechanism, the endless scroll. Users will now be able to press play and pop videos out into their own dedicated frame so that they can continue to scroll their dash while they watch. This is probably the savviest design change, since it’ll let Tumblr users watch videos without substantially upsetting their normal flow while on the site.
The one major weapon missing from Tumblr’s new arsenal of tools is money. YouTube revolutionized user generated content with the partner program which pays users for their videos with a portion of the ad revenue they generate. Tumblr doesn’t have a similar mechanism to serve up ads on videos and split the take with creators. If Tumblr is serious about competing with YouTube it’ll need to find a way to incentivize creators.
Rather than take on YouTube, or anyone else for that matter, it seems that Yahoo just wants to keep up with its social network neighbors. Both Facebook and Twitter have also been sharpening their video swords recently and all three platforms have been the subject of “YouTube killer” speculation. It seems that every week there’s a new contender for YouTube’s crown, but as of yet there are still no viable contenders and no one has even bothered to reach for it.