Tumblr Extends TV’s Reach Beyond the Tube

tumblr1Yahoo's purchase of Tumblr for more than a billion dollars back in June 2013 left many people uneasy. Dedicated Tumblr users worried that their favorite social media site would be overrun by ads while investors questioned how—if at all—the site could be monetized.

To the relief of the former and the distress of the latter, not much has changed on the site in terms of functionality and monetization in the 16 months since the acquisition. Instead, brands have searched for ways to work within the site's unique framework, which is something of a virtual soup of photos, video, text and animation.

For their latest season, which premiered in late September, NBC's popular show "The Voice" partnered with Tumblr bloggers, giving them backstage access during the filming of the show and using their skills to create an engaging second-screen-esque experience. The partnership capitalizes on social media's extended shelf life while connecting the show to new audiences. Other shows including ABC's "Halt and Catch Fire" and Fox's "MasterChef" have gotten in on the action on Tumblr as well, using the site to offer bonus materials like sneak previews and recipes.

Putting time and money into a social media platform with an active user base of just 17 million (compare that with 40 million for Pinterest, 270 million for Twitter and nearly a billion for Facebook) may not be the best decision for everyone. Still, for marketers who work with TV—especially those pining over Tumblr's millennial-dominated audience—a Tumblr collaboration can deliver a different, lasting way of extending a show beyond it's standard runtime.

Follow Brian Greene on Twitter: @bw_greene