Back in June, Twitter-owned live-streaming app Periscope launched a new creator payment process called ‘Super Hearts’.
Super Hearts are an upgraded form of emoji response which viewers can use to donate funds to a Periscope broadcaster – Super Hearts are purchased in packages and submitted during a Periscope stream, with the creator getting 70% of the money generated, via the responses, during their streams.
It’s a process various live-streaming platforms have adopted, but reports have circulated that Periscopers haven't been particularly happy with their revenue potential via the option.
In response, Periscope's now looking to improve their Super Hearts options. Via a blog post – titled ‘Giving Back to our Broadcasters’ – Periscope has announced that it will give all of the earnings from the Super Broadcasters Program (with the exception of a $1 administration fee per broadcaster payout) back to participating creators.
That’s a big step – originally, the 70/30 cut had been implemented to account for Apple and Google in-app transaction fees, so giving 100% back to broadcasters could actually see Periscope taking a hit, financially, in order to facilitate the program.
Why would they do this? Given the rising competition in live-streaming, it could be that Periscope simply wants to hold onto their key creators. Parent company Twitter has already seen what happens when you fail to cater to influencers (with the collapse of Vine), so it could be that Periscope simply needs this program to work in order to maintain its viability as a separate entity.
That’s not to say Twitter would lessen its focus on live-streaming necessarily, but you can already stream direct through Twitter itself. When Twitter announced that functionality back in December, it seemed to suggest that Periscope might be on the way out, but the Super Hearts program could be a key element of Periscope’s ongoing presence and growth – and a key way for Twitter to get more influential streamers coming back to the platform and building an audience.
As noted, there are similar streaming payment options available – Twitch, the leader in the growing gaming field, has an in-stream donation option, while YouTube announced their ‘Super Chat’ donations tool for streamers back in January.
YouTube has since lowered their entry requirements for streamers looking to utilize their live-stream tools, giving creators another option to monetize their live-stream content, and to a much larger audience than Twitter can provide.
And then, of course, there’s Facebook Live. While Facebook hasn’t yet rolled out a similar donation option to enable streamers to monetize their content, they do have one in the works, and the development of their Watch platform could be a key step in them providing a more enticing option to reach a larger audience.
For Periscope, they clearly see a need to provide more incentive – in addition to the updated Super Hearts process, they’re also providing a ‘holiday bonus’ over November and December.
“If you earn one million or more stars per month, you’ll be eligible to receive a $100 bonus. If you earn three million or more stars per month, you’ll be eligible for an additional $250 bonus ($350 total). Bonuses will be based on monthly earnings for November and December 2017 — not your pre-existing star balance. If you meet the minimum star balance each month, you can earn the bonus for both months.”
The streamer donation system has yet to pick up significant momentum among western users, but it follows the model of Asian platforms, where in-stream donations have quickly become big business – or had, till China banned live-streaming in June (China has since relaxed this somewhat, but they are implementing tighter live-stream controls and regulations to manage potentially offensive content).
If Periscope can create a more effective creator eco-system, that could facilitate more opportunities for the platform in future – and definitely, sweetening the deal by giving creators a bigger cut will provide additional incentive.
But with so many larger platforms looming on the horizon, it remains to be seen whether Periscope can remain a viable option – and that’s before you consider the additional user concerns about on-platform content which have been raised by various users.
If you want to learn more about the Super Hearts program, and whether you qualify, you can check it out here.