The phrase “Kumu is life” is often uttered by users of the Pinoy livestreaming app because it has already become a part of their lifestyle. Now in its second year, we see proof that Kumu continues changing lives in its Kumunity. With almost five million downloads in 55 countries including the Philippines, North America, Canada, USA, and the Gulf Region, people keep coming back to the app to keep themselves entertained and connected.
The Kumu app we know now was developed in 2018 by Filipinos for Filipinos and everyone who loves the Pinoy culture. It is massively thriving because of the authentic, raw, and unedited experiences that it produces from true personalities. It strongly upholds its core values that provide a positive, safe, and welcoming space.
We interviewed a couple of Kumu users to find out how the app is making a difference in their lives.
Escape from Reality
2020 feels quite dystopian if not a bit apocalyptic due to the many calamities and misfortune that the whole world is experiencing. People eat stress and anxiety for breakfast and crave for a timeout from all the negativity. Jillian Adriano, a student in California says that using Kumu since May 2020, “it has been my stress reliever and my quick escape from reality.” Leana Anselmo, a Plan Configuration and Quality Control Analyst in Sacramento says, “It for sure has changed my life. Without it, I’d probably go crazy without any type of human interaction during times of quarantine.”
People have a constant need to belong and be with other people with like minds and interests. They need to connect for inspiration, affirmation, or simply have fun or hang out. Singer-songwriter in New York, EJ de Barras IV says, “Kumu actually changed my life because of the fact that it allowed me to reconnect with the love of my life and it has also given me an opportunity to build lifelong engagements and relationships with my new-found friends.”
Unlike its competitive apps, negativity is discouraged in Kumu. They have moderators who police the community and make sure it remains positive, safe, and welcoming to all. Word filters even exist to make sure chats are not derogatory. Rodel Flordeliz, a content creator, blogger, and former radio jock says “I didn’t realize it will become part of my life. What I really love about it is that aside from meeting new friends, I can do things that I really love without worrying about bullying or bashing or other things that people might say, even though I know for myself that I’m not really good at it.” Educator, Rene Reeve Rivera says “What I like about Kumu is that it provides a safe space for all its users. This aspect is important to further empower livestreamers. When they feel safe and empowered, they will be inspired to think big and create content that matters.”
Artists and performers constantly need an outlet for their artform. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, physical performances and shows were canceled leaving a lot of performers jobless and without a stage to showcase themselves. Kumu has become an easy way to help them continue to perform. Buwi Meneses, bassist of Parokya ni Edgar says “I am currently based off of Los Angeles, California and continue to be a musician. I like this platform because it connects me more, nakaka-aliw jamming and learning with new musicians. Singer-Actor, Gian Magdangal says “It has really changed my life in terms of performing and singing online and being able to reach a lot of Filipinos around the world in this time of the new normal.” “What I am glad about this platform is the ability to continue pursuing my passion and love for music and performing,” says singer, theater actress, and proud Kumu streamer Yanah Laurel. She adds, “I am glad to have a platform that will allow me to give back a sense of goodness and positivity that I hope to be able to share in my own little way.”
Fun in Helping Out
Donating is not always easy especially since everyone is affected by the pandemic. People have somehow reached fundraising fatigue. However, Kumu has made helping out more fun as you are face-to-face with people to whom you want to give support and money, via the animated virtual gift options with values ranging from 10 – 200,000 coins. Sending these animated virtual gifts that are convertible to cash has become enjoyable because you know it goes directly to the donee without any third party.
San Francisco frontliner and entrepreneur Jovan Samonte says, “How Kumu has changed my life is to be able to give back to the Kumu community financially as one of the top gifters and being able to entertain members here by creating my show called “Keeping it Real” and for me, it’s about making people happy on this platform.”
The Next Five Years
Kumu has been enjoying victories in the last two years and has planned many exciting things in celebration of its second anniversary. In an interview with Kumu Chief of Staff James Rumohr, he shared that the company vows to keep the app fresh and interesting to the Kumu universe by continuing to listen to the users which will help make data-driven decisions.
In the next five years, Rumohr sees Kumu evolving as one of the top entertainment places for Filipinos around the world. The content will keep getting better, the user community getting larger, and the app’s features becoming smarter and more intuitive to what the users want. There will be tremendous growth as they aim for bigger Filipino communities in North America, Europe, Gulf Region, Malaysia, Singapore, Central America, and South America.