What is Periscope?
Periscope is a live-streaming video app which was founded in February 2014 and acquired by Twitter in March 2015 for a reported $100 million (£67 million). It allows you to watch and broadcast live video from all across the globe, meaning you could switch from watching a protest in Ukraine to a view of the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia.
The app gained a million users in the first ten days after its iPhone launch, and gained many more after its release on Android in May 2015.
The Periscope team on their website said: “It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realised there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.”
How does it work?
Periscope's live feeds can be shot from iPhones and iPads and watched through smartphones, desktops or laptops either through the app or on Twitter's site. You can watch back recent broadcasts or browse live streams by pressing the TV icon on the bottom left of the screen.
The difference between Periscope and Meerkat, another live-streaming app, is that Periscope saves the video streams once you are finished, so that anyone can view them for up to 24 hours. Meerkat’s live video disappears once you choose to end the broadcast.
How will brands use it?
Periscope gives users 24 hours to catch a live stream and encourages engagement through likes, providing brands new opportunities to interact with their audiences in real time. Twitter is going all out to encourage brands to try it out, outlining the best ways for them to use Periscope in a post in June. “Brands can forge a more personal relationship with consumers by using Periscope to give them real-time access to moments that matter, from big announcements to fashion shows to sponsored events,” the post said.
Here’s a few ways brands can use Periscope:
- Sneak peeks into exclusive events
- Announcements of products and special offers
- Celebrity takeovers
- Live Q&As
- Behind the scenes access to a brand’s culture
The app currently sees 40 years of content viewed on it every day, with fashion reportedly one of the most popular subjects. Marc Jacobs used it to showcase his resort 2016 collection, even hosting a live Q&A session with the designer himself after the show. Burberry similarly took to it during its menswear show in June 2015, capturing different segments of content as the event rolled out during the day.
Marc Jacobs Resort 2016 on Periscope
In September 2015, Ralph Lauren merged advertising with free streaming by staging its New York show on London’s Piccadilly Circus billboards in partnership with Periscope. David Lauren, executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and corporate communications at the brand, told WWD: “There are [an estimated] two million or so people passing through Piccadilly each week, and very few of them probably expected a front row seat to New York Fashion Week.”
Need some inspiration? Check out these brands that are coming top in the Periscope hype:
- Red Bull
- Ralph Lauren
- River Island
- Vivienne Westwood
What does the future look like for Periscope?
Periscope has teamed up with GoPro to allow users with a GoPro Hero4 camera to stream their adventures live to the world. In fact, you can toggle between your iPhone camera and your GoPro with a single tap, giving you a small semblance of directorial control over the events unfolding around you.
The most obvious use is extreme sports, both because that’s where GoPro shines, and because it already has an X Games collaboration lined up to coincide with its Periscope partnership. In fact, the tie-in also follows Twitter’s recent decision to put Periscope live-streams directly in the main Twitter timeline.
The service is still in its infancy, and apps come and go, so it remains to be seen whether Periscope will remain at the top of the pile. It's already being used for marketing but piracy will continue to be an issue.
For last year's Wimbledon, Roger Federer manned the tournament's Periscope live-stream of 'unique moments', but at the same time event organisers banned audience members from using the service to broadcast matches. Technically, live sporting events are not covered by copyright laws, but event organisers can make a contract with ticket holders not to live-stream events, which is what Wimbledon did. But Periscope is a new technology, and like a lot of new technology, the law has yet to catch up with it.
With more open Wi-Fi networks and faster 4G mobile networks than ever before, live-streaming looks like it’s set to become as regular a part of our lives as Googling and Snapchatting.