The move will see Twitter-owned Periscope video cards automatically playing within the Twitter iOS app, in a similar way to Twitter’s Vines, pre-recorded video or gifs – which all currently download and play without requiring the user to interact with them.
Users who tap on the Periscope videos will then see them in full screen with comments and hearts from other viewers. The feature will be rolling out to Twitter for iOS users within the next few days, with Android and web versions works in progress.
The move has seen some declare it the death or failure of Periscope as a community, rather than simply an app that streams video to Twitter. Given users who simply want to watch video no longer need a Periscope account, and those that want to comment can simply sign in with their Twitter accounts, the emphasis for use of the standalone Periscope app and community has all but been removed for anyone not wanting to broadcast themselves.
Periscope chief executive and co-founder Kayvon Beykpour said: “Starting with our iOS app, Periscope broadcasts in Twitter timelines offer a new way to experience the world, giving Periscope broadcasters a window to a massive new audience.”
Twitter had hoped Periscope would replicate the success it had with Vine and its community of creators and consumers, which bleeds across to the main Twitter social network but also stands alone. Periscope has yet to reach that stage, meaning that broadcasters relied on Twitter to spread their videos, which until now were simple links to the stream or the Periscope app.
The move also raises further concerns over the data usage of automatically playing videos. Unlike gifs, Vines or Twitter videos, Periscope broadcasts can last for hours. Periscopes automatically playing in the feed could lead to users unknowingly consuming significant amounts of data and affecting their smartphone’s battery life.
The automatic playback of videos with the Twitter app can be disabled within settings, requiring a user to tap on a video to start it playing.
The integration of live video into Twitter helps the company further its aim of being the place of the moment, where events happen in real-time. It also puts it one step ahead of rival Facebook, which also supports live-streaming video using additional apps, but those videos do not currently automatically play back within user’s feeds.
Twitter announced that Periscope had surpassed 10 million user accounts by August 2015, four months after launch, with 40 years worth of video watched per day. Periscope had approximately 1.9 million daily active users in August. For perspective, Snapchat has over 100 million daily active users, while Twitter has 320 million monthly active users, and Vine has 200 million monthly active users.
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