The rapid success of Twitter’s new Periscope live video broadcasting app has attracted keen attention from publishers and advertisers, who are eyeing its potential uses in journalism and marketing.
The new app could bring breaking news to the audience faster than any other digital platform, and has the potential to bring content marketing, native advertising and brand endorsements to an engaged audience.
Periscope, launched last Friday, allows users with the software to broadcast live video to anyone else who wishes to tune in to their stream. Users can write comments live on video streams, and videos broadcast live are also re-viewable for a period afterwards.
The app’s utility as a reporting tool was highlighted on its very first day, with a huge building fire in Manhattan which prompted dozens of new users in the area to offer live streams of what they were seeing.
As a tool of citizen journalists, Periscope throws up questions about verification of facts and the privacy of subjects, but it has strong potential for news organisations, according to News Corp Australia head of innovation Mark Drasutis.
“It provides an instant on-the-spot view and verification that … they’re at the event,” Mr Drasutis said.
“As the story builds, they can provide an update live.”
He said along with news reportage, columnists and media figures could use Periscope to add value to their commentary.
“So look at [Herald Sun AFL writer] Mark Robinson – he has nearly 90,000 followers on Twitter, so for him, it’s perfect during the weekend to provide an update using video, instead of tweets and images, to create a different engagement around his user base,” Mr Drasutis said
“And there are a lot of executions in relation to the classic court journalist – standing outside the court.
“It’s not so much, what has happened in court today, but what has happened in court now.”
Users can stream live on Periscope using their Twitter accounts, which means brands and individuals don’t need to set up another social media account to use the service.
Rob Marston, founder of mobile advertising studio Zeus Unwired, said the app’s strongest potential for marketers is in partnerships between brands and popular or trusted figures.
“Imagine seeing Jamie Oliver cook this meal at home, or seeing Michael Jordan practice this particular three-point shot,” Mr Marston said.
“Brands have those accounts on Twitter already – not just celebrities – but I think people are more likely to follow a celebrity than they are to follow a brand. I’d be more interested in seeing what Jeremy Clarkson is doing than Kia, for example.”
Mr Marston said that brands would also be eager to explore Periscope as a content marketing platform.