Twitter Keynote: Periscope Transforms Users Into Broadcasters, With Some Conditions

Twitter’s live-streaming app Periscope hit the mainstream a mere two months ago and, in that short span, has already made waves in sports broadcasting — most recently, in the use of its live-streaming technology to circumvent the pay wall for the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout. For Twitter, it’s all part of Periscope’s growing pains, but one thing is certain: both Twitter and broadcast-rights holders will be keeping a close eye on how the technology is used.

In a keynote address at last week’s Streaming Media East in New York City, Mike Park, director of content partnerships and Amplify, Twitter, addressed the company’s developing strategy for protecting content rights and penalizing copyright infringement.

“First and foremost, I want to say that we don’t condone it in any means,” said Park of those who use Periscope to stream copyrighted content. “We have a process in place. You can always send an e-mail to copyright@periscope.tv, and our team looks at that for DMCA Compliant support, and we take things down immediately. We’re always improving our tools. We’re two months in, so we want to work with partners on building the best process for this.”

As pervasive as Twitter has become, its foray into video is relatively recent. Beginning with the acquisition of Vine (January 2013), Twitter has made a number of video-related moves, introducing Amplify (May 2013), promoting video (August 2014) and a mobile video camera (January 2015), and acquiring SnappyTV (June 2014). The platform has gone from extremely text-centric with limited opportunities for monetization to one laden with video clips from a variety of sources, including broadcasters, advertisers, and everyday Twitter users.

With Periscope, Twitter transforms users from content creators into live broadcasters. “Big moments can be captured like never before,” said Park. “Instantly, we become broadcasters. We can take you directly behind the scenes just from a phone.”

Because Periscope is such a recent addition to the Twitter toolset, using the technology requires a good amount of trial and error. Park suggested that users think of themselves as broadcasters and provide narration for their audiences because viewers may tune in at any time.

Since Periscope is interactive, users should engage with their audience and be prepared for their audience to chime in on what they want to see. For example, Park cited a recent Periscope video of a fire in New York City that prompted audience requests that the user zoom in for a closer look and walk around the corner for a different perspective. “You’re actually driving what you’re seeing, [unlike] broadcast TV, which is one-way. You have to narrate and really engage with your audience.”

Watching video within the Twitter platform has become a seamless experience for users; a native player keeps users within the platform and plays videos with a simple tap. Amplify campaigns have resulted in preroll advertisements that tie into the video content (such as a tennis-specific preroll for a US Open clip). SnappyTV has allowed broadcasters to quickly cut live content and post clips to their feeds. And Twitter retains what has made it so successful since its launch nearly 10 years ago.

“The thing that makes Twitter unique in videos is the same thing that’s made Twitter unique all along: we’re mobile,” said Park. “We started in mobile with a basic tweet, and we continue to be mobile. It’s a live platform and also, most important, it’s a social platform.”

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