What Is Periscope? | FORTAYmedia

What Is Periscope?



With 1 million users in its first 10 days, and the app being at the forefront of The Baltimore Riots. Twitter acquired Periscope for a reportedly $100 million before it even launched, so we decided to look into their latest purchase to see what all the fuss is about.


The new live broadcast app from Twitter launched in January 2015 in response to the app Meerkat, whose big debut came at the South by Southwest festival in the USA. Periscope allows you to broadcast whatever your phone is seeing or hearing, at the time, to its (currently) 1 million users.


We decided to give Periscope a go, to see why so many people are so excited by the new app.


Download and Set Up

The first thing we found after downloading the app, was the way Periscope integrates with Twitter. We don’t need to add another account username and password to our password manager, as you can simply log in using your Twitter account. This leads to anyone on Twitter (on iOS) being able to begin streaming any time they want, and anyone who is following them and has downloaded the app to see what they are up to. You can also watch from your desktop, a great feature if you don’t have an iOS device, but want to see a particular event.



As someone who is broadcasting, it is very simple and easy to use. By just selecting the Camera Icon at the bottom of the screen, and allowing Periscope access to your Camera and Microphone, you just need to name your broadcast and you’re good to go. Whilst broadcasting, you can easily flip between the front and back camera to ensure everything is always in shot.


You can also have 2 broadcasts running from one account. However, if not carried our correctly, this could be confusing to the viewer. This is a great option if broadcasting an event with a workshop and a presentation happening at the same time. You could broadcast both and the viewer can choose which they want to view.



For the viewer, using Periscope is like having a one sided FaceTime call with a stranger. If the content of the broadcast is something you are interested in, then it will be interesting for you to watch, however finding exciting content to watch (or film) could be compared to finding a needle in a haystack.


When trialling the app for ourselves, we began to watch a stream from ABC Tuscon Morning News. The broadcast gave a behind the scenes look at news reporting, and what the presenters get up to when the main cameras aren’t rolling. We were able to visit a news TV studio in the States, without leaving our office. As a viewer, you can also leave comments for the Periscoper, this way you can converse and ask questions for the broadcaster to respond to.



Periscopes main competition is Meerkat, and although the app had a great launch at the South By South West festival in March, it’s popularity and the hype have taken a slide since the Periscope launch. Although Meerkat also integrates with Twitter, since the launch of Periscope, Twitter has suspended Meerkats access to its social graph, the data which shows who follows who on the social network and which previously allowed it to suggest who you should follow based on your Twitter contacts.


Unlike Meerkat, Periscope saves and archives your broadcasts to your account. This way, people have 24 hours to view your latest broadcast. They are also automatically saved to your Camera Roll, so you can look back at the footage days later.


The main difference between the two apps is once a Meerkat stream is over, you can no longer see it, whereas Periscope will archive your live streams.


Taking the lead with social live streaming however is YouNow. YouNow is the easiest way to make money from a live stream, through gifts. Viewers are able to send gifts which cost money and those broadcasting get a percentage of this. YouNow is also available on both iOS and Android. Periscope and Meerkat are currently only available on iOS.


As with any app, there’s always the downside to Periscope. Something the developers will have to tackle is the privacy behind live broadcasts. How long will it be until someone is being broadcast without having any knowledge of it? The app could become a major privacy breach for people using it inappropriately. Another consideration is that there are some things that really don’t need to be broadcast, and Periscope need to find a way where only good quality content is being streamed on their app. If someone wants to know what you’re eating, they’ll look on your Instagram.


Due to Periscope being in the early stages of its development, a lot of the feeds being broadcast may be boring. Our trial broadcast was an extremely exciting tour of the Fortay Media office. Not. However, as the app grows and develops (hopefully also for Android), it won’t be long before someone comes up with an exciting way to use Periscope, or a way for brands to sell using the app.


We’re looking forward finding new and inventive ways to use Periscope, and already have some ideas in mind. So don’t forget to follow Fortay Media on Periscope to see how we use the app. We promise, no more office tours!

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