Periscope, a live video streaming app for smartphones, was recently purchased and relaunched by the social networking giant Twitter.
The app enables users to broadcast live video content from their smartphone either publicly, or to a private group of people, allowing anyone to become a broadcaster. The audience watching the video can then respond in real time to the content they are viewing by tapping multiple times on the screen to send ‘hearts’ – this tells the broadcaster that you are enjoying their video.
Within the first two weeks after launching, the app had over a million users and it’s estimated that ten years’ worth of content is watched through Periscope every day. There are other rival apps competing in the live video streaming space, including Meerkat which launched a few weeks before Periscope, although they lack the support of a big player in the social media space.
The app has proved to be popular not just amongst amateur videographers but also journalists. One example being Max Foster, from CNN, who used Periscope whilst covering the birth of the new royal baby.
However, the app has been involved in some controversy, particularly over issues of copyright, and has been banned at several high profile events including the US Open.
Whilst live video streaming isn’t a new space for digital communications, it is part of a growing trend that has developed over recent years of people taking their own photos and videos and sharing them through social networks, leading to the notion that anyone can become a journalist or broadcaster.
Viewing habits are also changing with people now expecting to be able to view content instantly, 24/7, often preferring social media pages over company websites.
So, how do we in PR respond to these changes? Firstly, it is important that we stay ahead of the curve and build up a presence – when appropriate – on platforms such as Periscope as early as possible whilst constantly monitoring developing trends.
Apps, such as Periscope, also present a wealth of opportunities for PR when it comes to brand promotion as, by encouraging customers to share their photos, videos or live stream, companies have new ways to engage and share content with their target audiences.