Periscope has announced that users will soon be able to save their Periscope broadcasts beyond their current 24-hour lifespan, a major positive step for the live-streaming app.
Periscope made the beta announcement of the new feature late last week, also paying tribute to workaround system 'Katch' which enabled users to save their Periscope streams to YouTube. Katch went dark recently after it ran out of funding.
Of course, other live-streaming platforms which have come to market after Periscope already allow you to save content indefinitely - most notably Facebook Live - but Periscope had resisted adding a permanent save option, partly due to technical capacity and party by design - in order to make people feel more comfortable about "going live".
As Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour noted to The Verge:
"At the time we started Periscope, people hadn't really embraced live video, and it felt like this incredibly stressful activity. But we've moved past that world where people think about live with that same amount of stress in a short amount of time."
Broadcasts will be saved automatically, with comments and 'hearts' included. Users will have the option to delete their videos at any time, and a new setting will be built in to set an auto-delete option for broadcasts after 24 hours, maintaining the current set-up, if desired.
Game of Drones
Along with the addition of saved broadcasts, Periscope's also adding in a new search feature, which will enable users to search for live-stream content.
"When you tap on the search button in the Global List, you'll see a list of suggested topics to search for, including #Travel, #Music, #Food and more. To broadcast about a topic, simply tap the Broadcast button in the topic's search results to add the relevant hashtag, or add the hashtag to your title directly."
Periscope's also looking to add in special topics like "First Scope" to find new voices, "GoPros" for content streamed via GoPro device and "Drones" for drone-originated videos.
On drones specifically, Periscope's also added in a new way to broadcast your content via drone device, giving users the ability to switch between the drone's video feed and their iPhone camera.
Broadcast from a bird's eye view with drones! Available on iOS soon.https://t.co/J3GfdW4JRX- Periscope (@periscopeco) May 9, 2016
These are some solid upgrades for Periscope, particularly the ability to save broadcasts, which is long overdue. And most importantly, they'll enable the live-streaming app to keep up with Facebook, at a time where The Social Network is looking to steal away their audience and take over as the dominant live-stream player.
Live-streaming has become one of the most hotly contested battlegrounds in social media. The trend that started with the now superceded Meerkat was taken to the next level by Periscope, and has been given even more focus of late with Facebook introducing more ways to discover and connect with live content on their platform, re-vamping their mobile app to put a big focus on live video content.
For Facebook, live video has relevance on two fronts. First, the popularity of video content, particularly via mobile device, is undeniable, with video consumption rising rapidly in the last 24 months. This is best exemplified by Snapchat, which has gone from 2 billion videos views per day only one year ago, to 10 billion now. Facebook itself has gone from 3 billion video views per day to 8 billion in only a matter of months, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself has noted that the platform is on track to become 'mostly video' within five years.
But the other aspect that piques Facebook's interest in Live is the real-time element. Over the history of social media, Twitter's been seen as the platform for live event coverage and real-time conversation. If news is breaking, you jump on Twitter and see what people are saying about it, a trend particularly evident in discussion around live TV and sporting events. But Facebook, of course, wants you to spend more time on Facebook, and they see live as a way to hit Twitter on this element, introducing new measures to highlight live content around trending news content in order to bring the conversation back to Facebook, rather than have users switch across to check out the latest tweets.
If there's Live video available related to a trending topic, Facebook now highlights it
As such, Facebook's been working to make their Live offering more attractive to broadcasters and viewers alike, adding in new functions and, really, working to beat out Twitter's Periscope wherever they can.
Periscope knows this. In a recent interview, Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour discussed the growing competition from Facebook Live, saying that:
"...the fact that Facebook, the 800-pound gorilla, woke up one day and decided that live was interesting is very flattering for us. They couldn't have been further from this a year ago."
Beykpour also acknowledged Facebook's influence, saying that:
"If we got super nervous and thought deeply about competition every time Facebook decided to get into a new vertical we wouldn't get anything done."
And he's right - Facebook is so influential in the social space, so huge, that it's almost impossible to beat them if The Social Network decides it wants to win. But other players can succeed through innovation and adaptation. It just takes a lot of work. As noted, Snapchat's doing pretty well on its own.
Part of that work, for Periscope, is in introducing new features and tools to not only keep up with Facebook Live, but to beat them. That, given Facebook's focus on live-streaming, may eventually prove to be an impossible task, but adding in equivalent features, like saved streams, at least gives users less reason to switch across to Facebook Live and stick with Periscope for the moment. The addition of drone support, too, adds something new to the Periscope experience, and it's innovations like that that'll be required to keep them in the game.
Can Periscope stay competitive with Facebook Live as Zuck and Co. push harder on live content and seek new ways to generate exposure and reach for publishers? That remains to be seen, but expect to see Periscope rolling out more updates and changes in future to keep Facebook on its toes.