Twitter Puts Live Video Center Stage With the Integration of Periscope’s Capabilities

Tweets can now host livestreams

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Having for the past year pushed the mantra of being the best destination for "live" news and commentary, Twitter is finally integrating live video into its flagship app.

The company is now integrating the capabilities of Periscope into the Twitter app to allow its 317 million monthly users to livestream video straight from a tweet. The feature, announced today, will let users stream live video through the app—or like and comment on others users' live videos—without needing to download the Periscope app. 

The update comes just days after Facebook-owned Instagram launched live video for Instagram Stories, which rolled out to all users this week. According to Sara Haider, Periscope's head of engineering, the addition is the "culmination" of gradually integrating Periscope features into Twitter. (Twitter officially launched Periscope in March 2015 after acquiring it for less than $100 million.)

"I think the lines between what is a live video and what is a video video will blur," Haider said. "I think live video is just the next kind of evolution of how we think about video. And Periscope is going to be able to lead the charge in that in this evolution and serve Twitter where and when it makes sense to."

Asked if Twitter is planning to eventually close down Periscope to focus on the main Twitter app, Haider said the two apps have different use cases and don't always directly compete. (In October, Twitter announced it was shutting down Vine just four years after acquiring it.)

Some analysts say Twitter might have missed the boat with user-generated live video by not integrating Periscope sooner. Yet, there are some features that are unique to Periscope. For example, Periscope has a feature that helps users discover other live feeds from around the world based on a map within the app. Haider said the lines between the Periscope proper and Twitter apps "will blur more and more."

"Thinking about the earlier days of Periscope and when livestreaming started to become mainstream, we dealt with challenges of synchronization to make sure people are around during your broadcast," she said. "But I think what Twitter actually has been very good at surfacing what's happening right now, and so with this integration we're going to be able to address a lot of those challenges because Twitter is so good at that."

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.