In 2013 in an interview with the Shorty Awards (the ceremony I produce), Tumblr founder David Karp described why GIFs have become so important to the creative social network. "The new networks had gotten more and more restrictive - square photos, 140 characters, six second videos and Tumblr was really about opening that up," Karp explained. "The animation and GIF community was one of those that really ended up finding a home on Tumblr and flourish."
Over two years later Tumblr is taking Gifs to a whole new level with the establishment of Tumblr TV "a new search and viewing feature that allows you to enter a full-screen mode that loops GIFs," according to the social network. The capability essentially creates an endless, 24-hour GIF channel of your choice. Giphy, a popular GIF search engine also has a similar capability.
"We wanted to create a beautiful and easy way to deliver the endless amount of incredible GIF content on Tumblr without any interference," Bill Eager a product engineer at Tumblr told Found Remote. "The result is an immersive, effortless and entertaining visual experience that we are really excited to share with our users," he added.
TV networks are already finding ways to use this new tool to engage with fans. Here's BBC America's reaction. Found Remote interviewed Tumblr's Media Strategist Emilie Lara about the importance for TV networks. Lara is currently the platform's most senior TV person after Sima Sistani's departure to Meerkat.
"Having seen how TV networks have embraced the platform in terms GIF content, which does really great in getting the fans very excited - Tumblr TV is a great opportunity for these networks to embrace the new and existing fan bases for these shows and allow them to consume this content in a more passive way," Lara told Found Remote. "People can go directly to a network's Tumblr and watch the GIF content there - which will further drive the conversation between episodes," she added.
Here's an explanation on the new tools from Tumblr:
How? Browse over to tumblr.com/tv. Never touch your computer again, because now it’s perfect forever. Or search for something and watch TUMBLR TV of whatever that something is. You’ll figure it out.
Can I make a TUMBLR TV channel from my blog? Sure! Just do this: Change the URL to tumblr.com/tv/@yourblog. Now you’re the Oprah of TUMBLR TV.
Any other way I can get to TUMBLR TV? You can add “gif” to the end of any search. Click the “TV” button that shows up.