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Why has Twitter acquired yet-to-be-launched livestreaming app Periscope?

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Twitter has acquired yet-to-be-launched livestreaming app Periscope for an undisclosed amount, reports TechCrunch. There is no clarity regarding the deal value at present, though it’s believed to be a cash plus stock deal. It seems the deal had been closed in January and only now has it been announced officially. The TC report also mentions that Periscope is expected to be launched as a separate app, and will allow users to watch both live and previously broadcasted videos.

Periscope’s features are likely to be directly integrated into Twitter’s timeline, just like Vine videos. This will give it a clear visual advantage over other livestreaming apps, like Meerkat which recently burst onto the scene.

Note that this isn’t the first time Twitter has acquired a pre-launch mobile video startup. It had bought the short-form video sharing app Vine in October 2012, while it was still in closed beta.

 

 

Twitter seems to be increasingly focusing on video: It had introduced a video capture & share feature on its platform a couple of months back, which allows users to capture, edit and upload clips of up to 30 seconds on their timeline. Users also have the option of previewing the recorded video before posting.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo had mentioned during the company’s Q4 2014 earnings conference call that Twitter video was created to provide users the same instantaneous experience with videos that they have with tweets. The simplicity of the capture and share capability was a priority. He had also mentioned that the professional video tools available on Twitter are targeted towards not just brands/marketers but also towards users and content creators who want to monetize their content and are looking to distribute videos longer than 30 seconds on the platform.

The “Why” of Twitter acquiring Periscope is most likely hidden in the above statement: Twitter is currently used for live tweeting updates from events, concerts, and by journalists for real-time reporting among others. Twitter video added a new dimension to how the microblogging platform could be used, but the 30 seconds limit is a hindrance. A livestreaming app integrated with Twitter will provide brands and content creators greater scope to experiment and possibly monetize content. The next big product launch or announcement could well be livestreamed on Twitter. And it’ll be interesting to see if Twitter finds a way of integrating livestreams with ads, which accounted for 90.2% of Twitter’s overall revenues in Q4 2014.

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