Alternative video sharing platform Rumble has acquired the community generation platform Locals in a deal that its CEO Chris Pavlovski says will “build the rails to a new tech ecosystem that will free everyone from the restraints of editorial control.”
Rumble has grown significantly in 2021. In September, it hit a new traffic record and entered the top 150 most visited websites in the US. It's also snagged big names and secured investment from several conservative venture capitalists this year.
Locals has seen consistent traffic growth throughout 2021 and recently partnered with Rumble so that its members could easily set up paid communities on Locals via an integrated button.
Both platforms will keep their own websites but share communities and data operations.
“Buying Locals furthers Rumble's mission of giving creators unprecedented autonomy over their work while providing audiences with quality content,” Rumble said in a blog post. “Rumble is already one of the most respected independent and privately-owned companies in the online video-sharing platform industry. Acquiring Locals is part of Rumble's broader effort to build a creator economy that fosters creative independence.”
Pavlovski added that Locals will give Rumble users a “new way to generate revenue, one that is not influenced by corporate advertisers and special interests.”
Rumble will be using its cloud infrastructure to integrate Locals with its existing platform. The integration will allow Rumble and Locals creators to easily link their accounts and display a red Locals button on every Rumble video.
Locals CEO Assaf Lev said: “We are excited to see Locals continue our growth and vision as part of Rumble. Together we are building a new ecosystem for creators.”
Locals founder Dave Rubin added that the acquisition will help the companies “build a parallel Internet based on free speech using cutting edge tech and innovation.”
Political commentator and Rumble investor Dan Bongino, who helped broker the deal, told the Washington Examiner that the rise of cancel culture was a big driver for the acquisition and said that those pushing cancel culture are “incentivizing this and the next generation of creators to bypass the middleman of Big Tech platforms and streaming services.”
The acquisition follows the world's biggest video sharing platform, YouTube, continuing to censor its users, with this censorship even extending to elected officials. Both Rumble and Locals have vowed to let their creators speak freely in the face of this censorship which has led to many creators switching to these alternative platforms and praising their free speech stance.
As creators have flocked to Rumble and Locals, both companies have introduced numerous new features to give creators new ways to create and promote their content and generate revenue. Rumble has added live streaming, live tipping, live chat and more. Locals has also introduced live streaming and live tipping.