Tango Messaging App Invites Brands to Hit Publish

Taps Spotify, AOL for launch of channels

Messaging app Tango is following in the footsteps of competitors like BlackBerry Messenger with the launch of media channels users can follow. Tango Channels is still in testing and will be available early this summer, CTO Eric Setton told Adweek. 

Early media partners include Spotify and AOL’s Huffington Post and TechCrunch, he said. There will be five channel categories: entertainment, news, lifestyle, sports and music, and about 50 media brands at launch, Setton said.

“The channels were designed with brands in mind to allow them to actually showcase their content to our members,” he said.

Tango—known for messaging, gaming and music sharing—said there would be opportunities for brands to show ads in its channels. The app already sells native ad space through Twitter’s MoPub mobile network, and they show up within users’ feeds.

“Channels have that option as well to have ads interspersed through channel feeds and we will share in that revenue so it’s actually a revenue generator for partners to have channels on Tango,” said Jenn Caukin, a Tango rep.

Brands own their channels and Tango would help them capitalize on their content, Setton said.

“It’s a marketing opportunity for the brands we’re bringing on board to expose content to a large mobile community,” he said.

Tango has 70 million monthly active users and 200 million registered users. It competes with WeChat in China and Line in Japan, and 30 percent of its user base is in North America, according to the company.

Another rival, BlackBerry Messenger, launched brand channels in March to let publishers like Rolling Stone and Disney post content and sell ad space in feeds.

In March, Tango raised $280 million, most of that coming from China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.