Following Meerkat’s launch last week, Twitter sped up the release of it’s own integrated live streaming app Periscope. Despite still being in beta, the social giant quietly acquired Periscope in early March for around $100million. With Meerkat beating it to release, Twitter acted quickly to shore up its new acquisition and blocked Meerkat’s access to some of Twitter’s core functions.
Periscope is available now on Apple’s iTunes store (the Android version is currently TBC). Like Meerkat its users can broadcast a live video stream direct to their followers, allowing businesses and individuals to communicate messages to their Twitter followers simply by providing a link they can click through to a broadcast they can watch on their mobile, PC or laptop.
This type of service is not new, Amazon spent almost $1billion last year acquiring live game streaming app Twitch. Twitch allows gamers to broadcast live gaming sessions to fans, who can message and chat within the stream. While Twitch is hugely popular with gamers and the video and computer game industry – Periscope brings live streaming to the masses, and taps into Twitter’s huge mobile-focused user base.
The potential for Periscope is mind-boggling and the service is expected to mark a significant shift in the ever-changing world of social media. Think of it in terms of business. Using Periscope you can now broadcast live video of meetings and conferences to your pre-warmed list of followers, or customers, providing an even more intimate insight into what you do. It allows experts, celebrities and bloggers to speak directly to the people who follow them, negating the need for any third-party media outlet to help them get a message out.
In terms of PR, PR professionals are looking at how they can use Periscope with their brands’ Twitter accounts to help them engage more directly with the people who follow them and raise awareness of their brands. It’s a powerful tool as it adds to the arsenal of ‘owned’ social media tools in a big way.
PR professionals need to learn how to use Periscope. Those that can master this new channel will help set their brands and clients apart from the crowd.