Pinterest is getting into live shopping, as part of its pivot from being only an inspirational shopping site to becoming a home for creator content. The company this morning announced a new feature on its app called Pinterest TV — a series of live, original, and shoppable videos focused on areas like food, home, fashion, beauty, DIY, and more. The episodes will arrive on weekdays starting on November 8, and will then be made available for on-demand viewing.
The shows will be hosted by Pinterest creators and will include a chat feature where viewers can ask questions and otherwise participate in the experience.
The debut lineup of Pinterest TV shows includes “Christian On, “from American fashion designer, and “Project Runway” alum Christian Siriano; “Unfail My,” from director and screenwriter Monica Suriyage who is joined by Pinterest food creators to “unfail” the holiday dishes of cooks across the country; “Tom Tries,” featuring Olympic gold medalist in diving, Tom Daley, who’s also a knitting guru and who plans to learn new skills from the older grandmas and grandpas; “Manny Does,” from beauty entrepreneur, Manny MUA focused on common holiday beauty needs; “Buy This,” from comedian Robyn Schall, who, along with Pinterest creators, who will show off products from brands like Patagonia, Melody Ehsani, and Crown Affair.
To support the creative process, Pinterest is also launching a virtual studio where producers will work with creators to help them develop their content and provide A/V support, so they can go live more easily.
The new episodes will begin airing starting on November 8, and will air Monday through Friday at 3 PM PDT / 6 PM EDT in the U.S. on the Pinterest iOS app to start. Each Friday, products will drop into a live shopping experience where Pinterest users will be offered discounts from participating brands, including Patagonia, All Birds, Crown Affair, Melody Ehsani, Outdoor Voices, Mented, and others.
According to Pinterest’s call to action, these shows will be 30 minutes in length and will include a 10-30 minute pre-production call with Pinterest’s team and AV tech check.
The idea, Pinterest explains, is to create a new way for its users to become inspired — instead of just browsing images for products and ideas, as before, Pinterest TV allows the company to move further into video and the creator economy.
This shift is a pivot Pinterest has been trying to make for many months. As new social networks like TikTok are becoming the place where younger, Gen Z users are discovering ideas which then translate into online shopping purchases, Pinterest’s image pinboard experience has started to feel dated — like a holdover from another era of the web. This is an issue facing other, older social networks, as well. Instagram’s head, for example, recently said its app would no longer be focused on photo-sharing, as it’s now embracing video.
Similarly, Pinterest has been working to make video more core to its platform. Earlier this month, it introduced a TikTok-like “Watch” tab where users can vertically scroll through a feed of creator’s videos, which they can like, comment on and save to their Pinterest boards. These videos are a newer type of content type which Pinterest calls “Idea Pins,” a video-first feature that lets creators demonstrate some sort of idea or DIY — like cooking a recipe or doing a craft, for example.
To encourage creators to make videos, Pinterest is investing $20 million in Creator Rewards and offering other tools to allow them to monetize their content, like those for enabling affiliate links, partnering with brands on sponsored content, product tagging, and more.
However, most of what Pinterest has been doing on the video front so far has not been unique. Instead, it’s about a site playing catch-up with where the web is heading — towards creator-backed content, videos, and live, shopping experiences.
Pinterest TV is another example of this broader plan being put into action. And to be successful, Pinterest will need to be able to prove it’s worth creators’ time and effort, given the competition among social platforms for creator talent — not to mention the large creator funds being offered by the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Snap, and YouTube as they try to combat the TikTok threat.
So far, Pinterest says creators who’ve pilot tested Pinterest TV episodes were able to increase their followings, with some creators more than doubling their followers after a live episode. However, the company will still need to prove out that larger followings will translate to larger creator revenues over time. (At launch, Pinterest says it’s not directly profiting from Pinterest TV).
While Pinterest TV is only currently available to select creators, the company is offering a sign-up form for others who are interested in creating TV episodes through the new service.