Analysis

Periscope adds Facebook but latter opens up live video too


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periscope

The headline for the latest update to Twitter’s live-video app Periscope is the addition of landscape mode, enabling people to hold their smartphones horizontally for proper widescreen filming.

Good news for the purists – and there are a fair few of them – who rage at the Snapchat and Periscope/Meerkat-fuelled growth in portrait-orientation video. But the more interesting new feature is the ability for Periscope users to share their broadcasts on Facebook as well as Twitter, potentially widening their audiences.

Periscope has, unsurprisingly given its parent company, used Twitter as its social graph from launch. “Live” is still more core to Twitter than Facebook, but the latter is emerging as an important platform for live streams too.

Witness Periscope’s rival Meerkat integrating with Facebook as soon as it could after having its access cut off to Twitter’s social graph earlier in the year. But also see what Facebook is up to with its Mentions app, complete with live-video features that have been tested by a number of celebrities.

There was news on that front yesterday too, actually. Facebook is now making Mentions – a standalone smartphone app – available to all verified users on its service.

That means prominent musicians as well as journalists and other public figures will now be able to stream video live to their Facebook followers, and answer questions in return. There is plenty of potential here for musicians: impromptu acoustic gigs and Q&A sessions, for example, or simply broadcasting backstage / in-studio happenings for their fanbases.

As usual with Facebook, there will be questions about what proportion of a musician’s followers can be reached with a live stream – although we suspect that the organic reach will be better than a regular status update, just as it is for native (non-live) video uploads.

But the bigger picture here is that Periscope and Facebook Mentions are sparking fresh interest in how live, smartphone-shot video can be put to use by public figures. Journalists may be at the forefront of this, but musicians will play a prominent role too.

Stuart Dredge

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