Periscope - Twitter's Answer To Live Streaming
On the heels of SXSW breakout star Meerkat, Twitter today announced it’s solution to live streaming with the launch of Periscope, a live streaming video app that’s been in beta since the company acquired it back in January. This new generation of apps are putting live streaming back in the headlines, but are consumers ready to adopt the technology? The recent success of Meerkat indicates yes, but it may be a ﬁght for market share between tech giants able to deliver the optimal solution.
The History of live streaming
Though livestreaming has technically been around for years, it has never been widely adopted by consumers beyond the gaming community and the various iterations of Chatroulette. Companies, from Ustream to Google, have attempted to mainstream the idea, but most users have continued to forego real-time broadcasting in favor of publishing edited Content after the fact (à la YouTube). This is largely due to the sluggish progress in taking the technology mobile - with clunky websites, slow mobile data speeds and high costs keeping live streaming shackled to the desktop, where live content doesn’t vary enough to draw audiences en masse. On the other hand, brands, publishers and organizations have made live streaming a part of the content mix, but have struggled with ﬁnding turnkey solutions to do it well.
Now, tech companies are looking to completely change the market by bringing instant live streaming to the forefront for the ﬁrst time, integrating it into the platforms consumers are already using daily.
Why is this happening now
Data is faster and cheaper than ever, and apps like Snapchat and Twitter have made us more comfortable with live, unedited publishing than ever before. First on the scene was hot tech platform Meerkat, a new, free mobile app that makes live streaming so simple that new users can be signed up and broadcasting within seconds. It was originally integrated with Twitter, a huge beneﬁt to the app that would not need users to sign up separately, and would enable automatic tweets when live streaming began.
Now Twitter, recognizing Meerkat’s overnight popularity, has made a bold statement by moving up their announcement of Periscope, ensuring that Meerkat isn’t getting all the attention. Whether this kills Meerkat in its tracks remains to be seen, but the newly-launched sophisticated Periscope interface features a number of advances, and Twitter has already limited Meerkat's access to its API to make sure Periscope stands out to Twitter users.
Why does live streaming on Twitter matter
Before YouTube took an onerous process and simpliﬁed it for the masses, there was little to no user - created video content online, and none that would beneﬁt brands. This is what Periscope (and Meerkat) does for live streaming which, until now, was the province of brands and publishers who relied on an expensive and unwieldy ecosystem of providers.
Following the emergence of YouTube, Google built an entire advertising business out of user-generated videos. This is the promise of Periscope for Twitter, which is still trying to crack the video market currently dominated by YouTube and now Facebook. To stand out, Twitter, and new threats like Meerkat, will need to take a diﬀerent approach from traditional embedded video players.
Add to this the beautiful convergence of video with Twitter's core strength, real time, and it is easy to see that Periscope is a product that naturally ﬁts with what Twitter's users value about the platform and what diﬀerentiates them in the social space.
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