This weekend, Periscope celebrated its one-year anniversary by revisiting some of the broadcasts that have been on the service. And what an active 12 months it has been. Periscope has gone from being a startup to being acquired to rising to prominence within Twitter’s ranks as a major pillar of the company’s efforts to gain momentum.
To highlight how much potential Periscope has, Twitter revealed today that 200 million broadcasts have been hosted within the app, 100 million of which were created in just the past three months alone. In addition, 110 years worth of live video is watched per day across Periscope’s iOS and Android apps, which represents a 91 percent increase from last August.
Periscope’s launch on March 26, 2015 came just as its main competitor at the time, Meerkat, started to gain traction at the South by Southwest conference. But midway through the interactive portion of the festival, Twitter announced it was severing access to its API, a shot across Meerkat’s bow in favor of Periscope. Fast forward to a year later: Meerkat has pivoted, and the live video market is starting to get crowded with the introduction of Facebook Live and soon YouTube Connect.
While Periscope’s numbers appear strong, it’s difficult to see how they stack up against those of its competitors since none of them have publicly released their metrics. However, as with Facebook and Snapchat, Periscope says that it pays attention to the time spent watching videos (how long someone watches a live broadcast on the iOS and Android apps) above all else.
Twitter has placed a lot of weight on Periscope, especially as it focuses its vision around live events. In an interview with Bloomberg, CEO Jack Dorsey stated that his company’s role in the world “still centers around bringing people together to watch live events in the place where information comes the fastest.” And to show how important a role he believes Periscope will play in Twitter’s future, in February Dorsey elevated the head of the live streaming video service to his executive team.
In the past year, Periscope has certainly accomplished a lot. It quickly launched on iOS and Android devices and is viewable on the Web. It became one of the first apps to debut on the Apple TV. New features have been rapidly added to the service, such as landscape support, web profiles, the ability to skip ahead in replays, GoPro video support, and viewing streams within tweets.
To say there’s a lot riding on Periscope might be an understatement. Twitter has seen its growth stagnate — last quarter it reported 320 million monthly active users; the same number as the previous quarter.
Twitter wouldn’t comment on any Periscope notables, but people are using Periscope to report on events around the world, such as the Nepal earthquake, the Baltimore uprisings, and the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe. Popular stars like Jamie Foxx, Chris Hardwick, John Mayer, and others have joined Periscope. In the next year, we may start to see the Periscope equivalent of “YouTube stars,” video creators who become celebrities.
Another question that may be answered in the next year is just how the service will be monetized. Companies that are already trying their hand at capitalizing on live streaming include Blumhouse, which produced the first live horror movie on Periscope, called Fifteen, and General Electric, which used live footage from the video service to showcase its vast fields of clean energy wind turbines from the air.
The race to become the top live streaming app is on, with Facebook doubling down on the same big opportunity that Twitter sees. But Twitter isn’t just fighting for video supremacy — it’s looking for a way to save itself, and it’s hoping Periscope can play a big part in that.
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