What periscope needs to really take off

by | May 19, 2015

What Periscope needs to really take off

Recently Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, wrote an article on the current rise of live video streaming apps. Holmes argues that the recent flurry of live streaming apps, led by Periscope, are the biggest things since Twitter itself.

Live video streaming platforms have been around for well over a decade. But despite the existence of companies like Livestream and Ustream live video streaming hasn’t taken off. In his article Holmes first identifies three reasons why this time it’s different for live video. He goes on to explain the social, political and business implications.

Here are the three reasons why live video streaming is hitting a tipping point and why we think guiding the creation of remarkable content will be at the core of its success.

Mobile born into a mobile-first world
These apps are mobile born into a mobile-first world, unlike livestream and its ilk. Holmes states that by the next year two billion people around the world will own a smartphone. It’s even more interesting to consider that in the coming five years this number will double to a staggering 4 billion smartphone users. The latter coupled with low-cost data plans and increasing penetration of 3G and 4G makes that this time it’s indeed different for live video streaming apps. The momentum is here.

Live interaction

“Great or even remarkable content lies at the core of any of these business models.”

The social and cultural fabric is in place
The second reason Holmes refers to is the mass usage of social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat. On the face of it this might not seem as an important point, but it is. Like every new technology consumers have to get accustomed to the cultural and social meaning of using that technology. In technology deployment this point is often underestimated due to a ‘technological fix.’ But it shouldn’t be, because cultural and social issues are often the main reason for failure. Not technology.

Currently there is a momentum for live streaming because people have for over a decade voiced their thoughts and shared intimate and personal moments through photos and videos with the rest of the world. In Holmes’ words: “The culture of social sharing has matured to the point that something like Periscope is viable.”

Linking to an existing social graphs
The last reason Holmes gives is that unlike older streaming technologies apps like Periscope have the unique advantage of mapping onto already existing social graphs of social media sites. Holmes: “By linking to a network like Twitter, for example, Periscope users can immediately tap into existing audiences, instead of having to build them from scratch. This means they have higher viral sharing potential for their content, as well. ”

Remarkable Content
Holmes misses, however, one important point: though Periscope delivers a great platform for sharing content it has not built-in mechanisms to deliver quality content. As Jeff Jordan, partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, outlines ‘youtube does a fantastic job in generating zillions of video views for its community. Yet it does a relatively poor job of helping their users earn money.’

Content is still king and live video streaming startups have to deliver content that is remarkable and relevant. In Jorden’s words: “The reality is that without the scale of a YouTube or Facebook, platforms will have to find more creative ways to make money, whether it’s through subscriptions, micropayments, exclusive previews, community benefits, or other methods.”

Great or even remarkable content lies at the core of any of these business models.

The stellar flight of Persicope in the last months demonstrates that we are hitting a real tipping point in the live video streaming trend. It also shows that this is yet another evolutionary step in our quest to converge the physical and online world. In a beautiful way.

Want to know about Node1’s live streaming spin-off, Ubideo.com? Contact Gerald!

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