Talkshow, the "Facebook Live for text chat", is shutting down

Talkshow, the text-based live broadcast system that effectively promised to be Facebook Live for the camera shy, is shutting down after just six months. The service, which offered a way to broadcast text conversations, launched in April this year with the hope of taking Slack chats public. However, in an email to users today, the Talkshow team has conceded that interest just wasn't as big as had been expected, and that the only way forward is shutting the service down.

"While we have enjoyed the conversations that have happened on Talkshow," the email says, "and are grateful for the community that has formed around the product, we don't see it getting big enough to have the impact we had hoped for." The Talkshow app is being removed from the App Store today, and no new sign-ups or new Talkshow shows themselves can be created. However, anybody with an existing show will be able to continue it.

Still, the days of your Talkshow broadcasts are nonetheless numbered. The company will end existing shows in a week's time, on November 8. At that point, not only will Talkshow hosts be unable to add new content, audience members won't be able to submit questions.

However they shows themselves will still be visible, albeit in a "read only" mode. That will be the case both online and in the app, if you still have it installed. On November 8, Talkshow says it will release an export tool for each remaining show, which will produce a ZIP archive for offline use.

That archive will include an HTML file and CSS for the show, as well as all the images that have been shared within it. Unusually for this sort of service shut-down, it's not only show hosts that will be able to download those contents: the download links will be public. Talkshow says that's because the system "was literally designed to be 'texting in public'" and so fans have just as much access as hosts.

You don't have long to download, mind. Come December 1, Talkshow will be turned off altogether. The app will no longer show any archived shows, and the web versions will also be inaccessible.

It's a disappointing end to one of the more unusual of the livecasting systems we've seen spring up over the past 12-18 months. Talkshow's gamble was that there would be enough people wanting to broadcast their ideas to a wider audience, but who didn't want to do that either via audio or – as is most common – video. That gave it a much less competitive sub-segment to compete in, but even then the number of users within it proved too low.

Nonetheless, Talkshow as a company says it isn't giving up. In a post about the shutdown, CEO Michael Sippey says that the company itself isn't shutting down, only the app, and that something new is in the pipeline.

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