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The company plans to host a three-day virtual event that will feature live sessions from top creators, including big names like Jonathan Van Ness and Rebecca Minkoff, among others. The virtual event will take place within the Pinterest app from May 24-26, and will serve as the company’s first public test of streaming creator content directly to its more than 475 million global users.

The booming creator economy and a pandemic-driven demand for virtual events led Pinterest to explore the idea of live streaming. A few months ago, it began testing a “class communities” feature that allowed users to sign up for Zoom classes through Pinterest, while creators used the boards to organize materials, notes and other resources. These communities also included a group chat option and shopping features. The new live streaming sessions will work a little differently.

For starters, they are not directing users off-site to Zoom for the sessions. Instead, users will launch the live streaming experience directly within the Pinterest mobile app and remain there for the sessions. Pinterest users can also comment to interact with the creator during their broadcast. The shopping functionality will now include the ability for creators to tag products with Pins.

Live streams allow up to three “guests” and an unlimited number of viewers. Meanwhile, moderators, which may include Pinterest employees, during this test, will help control the experience. They will also have the ability to remove people from the chat if they do not meet Pinterest’s community standards. Programming for the upcoming event will focus on a variety of topics, including food, design, cooking, style and more.

Jonathan Van Ness’ session will discuss morning rituals and self-care routines. Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff will teach Pinterest users how to style their summer closet. Other highlights during the event include food creators GrossyPelosi and Peter Som, who will showcase their favorite recipes; Women’s Health magazine will talk about using vision boards to achieve your goals; Jennifer Alba will show how to communicate the zodiac through sign language; and Hannah Bronfman will offer ideas for creating a spa night at home.

In total, Pinterest will feature about 21 creators during the three-day event, with about seven different sessions per day. Users will be directed to the live event through a new “Live” tab within the Pinterest app for iOS and Android, where they can view the schedule and join sessions.

“As a visual platform, people discover billions of ideas on Pinterest every day, and we’re always looking for new ways to help bring them to life,” says David Temple, director of Creators at Pinterest.

Temple notes that Pinterest integrated with third-party live-streaming technologies and created its own internal messaging systems to drive live interactions. “We’re excited about the opportunity to respond to Pinner comments for more dynamic and timely events, as new interests like cooking emerged for many quarantined, and trends like beauty, fashion and home renovation are at historic highs as we move into a post-pinning world,” Temple adds.

However, Pinterest does not discuss how it sees the potential for live events in the long term. At the moment, it does not offer tools that could draw creators away from other platforms where they can monetize their fans through features such as donations, suggestions, virtual giveaways, paid ticket sales, subscriptions or brand partnerships through a creator marketplace. Without these options, Pinterest may struggle to compete for creators’ attention.

Nearly every major tech platform today is making a play for creators, and some are even willing to offer them cash to win them over. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Twitter are rolling out features that allow creators to do more than build an audience to monetize through ads or branded offers. Now, fans can send money to creators during or after broadcasts, subscribe for exclusive content, pay for access and more, according to the platform.

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

Pinterest’s appeal among such intense competition is unclear, but the company will use this experiment to gain more insight into what works for its own community. Pinterest tested its live-streaming technology with employees a few weeks ago, but this will be the first time the feature will be available to the public.

While the event schedule can be viewed on the web, live streams will only run within the Pinterest app for iOS and Android starting May 24.


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