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Instant Analysis: Twitter Inc.'s Periscope Hits 200 Million Broadcasts

By Leo Sun - Apr 6, 2016 at 5:38PM

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Twitter’s live streaming app has crossed another milestone, but the real question is where it stands in the race with its video rivals.

Twitter's (TWTR -9.67%) Periscope recently announced that its live streaming app was used for 200 million cumulative broadcasts within its first year. That figure sounds impressive, but the app still hasn't crossed the more widely used milestone of 1 million hours of daily video views.

Source: Periscope.

Alphabet's (GOOG 2.96%) (GOOGL 2.84%) YouTube claims that its users watch "hundreds of millions of hours" of videos daily. Facebook (FB 3.86%) topped 8 billion daily video views last November, and recently announced that over a million hours of VR video had already been consumed on Samsung's Gear VR headsets since their launch last November. Compared to those figures, Periscope's 200 million broadcasts seem paltry.

The business of live streaming
Twitter reportedly paid over $86 million last year for Periscope and Niche, a talent agency for social media stars. However, neither platform has been aggressively monetized yet. Periscope won an early battle against live-streaming rival Meerkat, but the app now faces much tougher competition from Facebook and YouTube in the live-streaming arena.

Facebook, which has been aggressively beefing up its video streaming ecosystem, launched its own live-streaming feature for all iOS and Android users earlier this year. YouTube also revealed its own live-streaming feature last August. Considering that Facebook has 1.6 billion monthly active users and YouTube has "over a billion" users, both companies could trample Periscope's active user base -- which reached just 10 million last August.

What Periscope means to Twitter
Periscope represents one of Twitter's three video strategies, which also include its 6-second loops on Vine and embedded timeline videos. Twitter has tightened up that ecosystem by integrating Vine loops and Periscope feeds directly into its timeline. Those moves represent baby steps toward monetization, but pale in comparison to Facebook's and YouTube's clear video monetization strategies.

More importantly, it's unclear how these efforts will address Twitter's core problem of stagnant user growth. So for now, Periscope won't likely move the needle for Twitter until some solid plans to grow revenue are introduced.


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