200M broadcasts in 1 year for Periscope – USA TODAY

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LOS ANGELES – A year ago, live video streaming to a smartphone app was mostly talk.

But today, as Twitter’s live video streaming app Periscope celebrates its first birthday, the company announced a big milestone–some 200 million live broadcasts have been streamed to date.

That’s up from 100 million in January, “so we’re seeing extraordinary growth in a short period of time,” says Periscope co-founder Kayvon Beykpour.

The company says there are now so many live streams, they equate to 110 years of live video being watched every day on the app, which is available for Apple and Android devices.

A year ago, the South by Southwest conference had just ended, and live video via the Meerkat app was the talk of the show. Then Periscope popped out of the gate, and stole the thunder, with its ease of use, and ability to stream video directly to Twitter feeds. (Meerkat has since announced it was switching its focus.)

By the end of 2015, Apple had named Periscope “App of the year,” and Facebook jumped loudly into live video streaming as well. Now Facebook users can record live directly into News Feeds.

And just last week came word that Google may be looking to start a new live video streaming app for YouTube, YouTube Connect.

Beykpour isn’t worried about the competition.

“Live streaming has been around for ages,” he says. “We weren’t the first.” Justin.TV, Hang/w, Ustream, YouNow and many others pre-date Periscope. “We don’t pay much attention to what other people are doing, we’re just focused on making the best mobile experience. That more people are getting involved is great, it shows people are taking a broad view of the space.”

Fans took to Periscope as the easiest form of video making. There’s no big production skills–just hold up the smartphone to your face and show what you see, and when you’re done, press stop. There’s no fancy video editing or transfer process needed. Along the way, get massive feedback from folks all over the world, who respond with animated hearts and questions.

Periscope took off thanks to a “confluence” of events–better network, software and ubiquity of smartphones able to pull in high-speed connections, says Beykpour. “Live video used to mean a 30-60 second delay. You could get it done with a video camera tapped to a big backpack and a laptop, but that wasn’t for the consumer.”

Peter Csathy, CEO of Manatt Digital Media, which invests in and consults with tech startups, says consumers responded thanks to apps like Periscope and Facebook pushing the cause.

“It’s easy, they tried it and now they understand the power of it,” he says.

Beykpour says “being able to see what’s happening in real time anywhere in the world is a super power. You can see a map of the world, zoom into a neighborhood, and go some place with a breaking news event and step into the shoes of someone there and talk to them–that’s crazy.”

While Periscope’s numbers are booming, Csathy says it has a big monkey on its back–”Facebook is a monster,” he says. “Facebook is now very focused on live video, and that will make it much more challenging than it was for Periscope.”

Periscope needs to become a regular part of people’s daily lives, like Facebook is, says Csathy. “That’s a huge undertaking.”

And with Google reportedly entering the live video space, based on the 1 billion monthly users for the world’s most popular video site, Google is primed to take a major chunk of the audience as well, Csathy says.

Live mobile video app Periscope was named app of the year by Apple in its annual year-end rankings of the best in Mobile. Jefferson Graham reports.
By Sean Fujiwara

200M broadcasts in 1 year for Periscope – USA TODAY

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