Periscope ex­tends be­yond phones as Twit­ter ups ante on video

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

SAN FRAN­CISCO: Twit­ter is tak­ing the smart­phone shack­les off its live-video ser­vice Periscope in its lat­est at­tempt to broaden its au­di­ence. The Periscope Pro­ducer fea­ture an­nounced Thurs­day will let me­dia com­pa­nies and other users pipe live video feeds di­rectly into Twit­ter, with­out us­ing a smart­phone to record the im­ages. Since its de­but early last year, Periscope had been con­fined to live video feeds taken on a smart­phone.

Dur­ing Pro­ducer’s test­ing phase last week, a Florida tele­vi­sion sta­tion show­ing live video on its web­site used the new tool to re­dis­tribute the same feeds on Twit­ter. To start, Pro­ducer will be lim­ited to a small group of me­dia com­pa­nies such as Dis­ney’s ABC News and ma­jor brands such as Louis Vuit­ton. Oth­ers can ap­ply for ap­proval .

Periscope CEO Kayvon Beyk­our said Pro­ducer will be avail­able to all com­ers soon, some­thing that he ac­knowl­edged could lead to unau­tho­rized re­dis­tri­bu­tion of live video. Piracy has been an is­sue dog­ging Periscope since peo­ple be­gan us­ing the ser­vice to broad­cast live video of movies and TV shows with their smart­phones.

The Periscope ex­ten­sion ups the ante on Twit­ter CEO Jack Dorsey’s bet that the in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of on­line video will help widen the mes­sag­ing ser­vice’s ap­peal. Twit­ter al­ready has been stream­ing more news, en­ter­tain­ment and sports events, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Foot­ball League’s Thurs­day Night games for 10 weeks dur­ing the sea­son. Twit­ter hopes to build a fol­low­ing be­yond peo­ple who rely on the ser­vice to tweet their thoughts and keep tabs on what’s hap­pen­ing around the world. Dorsey sees Twit­ter evolv­ing into the go-to place for watch­ing live video in a dig­i­tal town square where peo­ple can share their opin­ions with each other.

Sram­ble to go live

In­ter­net com­pa­nies young (Snapchat) and old (Face­book) are scram­bling to get on the live video train, though there are no easy ways to make ad­ver­tis­ing money off of them yet. That’s com­ing, though. Some com­pa­nies are al­ready ex­per­i­ment­ing with livestream­ing for mar­ket­ing pur­poses. Au­tomaker Gen­eral Mo­tors, for ex­am­ple, launched out its elec­tric Chevy Bolt EV us­ing Face­book Live ear­lier this year. Me­dia out­lets, mean­while, are livestream­ing cov­er­age of the pres­i­den­tial de­bates in ways not seen in any pre­vi­ous elec­tion.

With the lat­est move, Periscope joins other livestream­ing ser­vices such as Twitch and YouTube that al­low for broad­casts from sources be­yond users’ smart­phones. Face­book, mean­while, has so far stuck to a mo­bile-only strat­egy. But even with Periscope’s ex­panded ca­pa­bil­ity, Face­book has an ad­van­tage with a larger au­di­ence.

Since the end of 2014, Twit­ter has picked up just 15 mil­lion monthly users to ex­pand its au­di­ence to 313 mil­lion peo­ple through June. Dur­ing the same stretch, Face­book gained 319 mil­lion users to ex­tend its reach be­yond 1.7 bil­lion peo­ple.

In an ef­fort to dis­tin­guish Twit­ter from Face­book, Dorsey has been try­ing to po­si­tion it as the “peo­ple news net­work” - though with lit­tle suc­cess since he re­placed Dick Cos­tolo as CEO 15 months ago.

Things have been look­ing so bleak that Twit­ter’s board last month hired in­vest­ment bankers to woo suit­ors that might be in­ter­ested in buy­ing the San Fran­cisco com­pany, ac­cord­ing to pub­lished re­ports that cited un­named peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter. The prospec­tive bid­ders in­cluded Google’s par­ent com­pany, Al­pha­bet Inc., as well as Ap­ple Inc., Sales­force.com and Walt Dis­ney Co.

The pos­si­bil­ity of a sale tan­ta­lized in­vestors un­til other me­dia re­ports made it seem un­likely that Twit­ter will strike a deal soon. With a sale ap­par­ently off the ta­ble, the com­pany’s stock has dropped by nearly 30 per­cent in the past week. The shares fell 20 cents to $17.85 in early af­ter­noon trad­ing Thurs­day.

—AP

NEW YORK: In this Wed­nes­day, April 24, 2013, file photo, Twit­ter co­founder Jack Dorsey speaks at a cam­paign fundraiser.

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