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GoPro Shooters Can Send Live Streams Up Periscope

By John P. Mello Jr.
Jan 27, 2016 10:37 AM PT

GoPro on Monday announced an integration with Twitter's Periscope app that allows live streaming from a GoPro Hero4 camera.

Periscope users can switch between broadcasting from their iPhone's camera to their GoPro directly from the phone screen with the touch of a button, GoPro said.

The feature allows GoPro shooters to use the Periscope interface like a production switchboard. They can toggle between their iPhone and GoPro cameras on the fly, adding variety to video of a live event.

Thanks to the Periscope integration, the GoPro can take the risks that accompany shooting live-action video, while the iPhone can remain safely in a user's pocket, Periscope said. A screen-lock button prevents accidental camera switching while the iPhone is pocketed.

Fits Business Strategies

Twitter's teaming with GoPro fits in with both companies' business strategies.

"Twitter wants to become a more media-rich environment," said Ross Rubin, senior director for industry analysis at App Annie.

"It's one of the ways that it's looking to go beyond the 140 characters that have defined the service for much of its existence," he told TechNewsWorld.

"The GoPro footage is often very exciting, and it makes for a more dynamic Twitter experience," Rubin said. "It will get people thinking about Twitter in a new way. Instead of just news updates or short missives, it will be thought of as more of an entertainment brand."

Trouble in Twitter City

Integration with Periscope furthers GoPro's strategy to integrate content created with its cameras with more service providers.

"GoPro has also been trying to drive its own media effort," Rubin explained.

"Being able to broadcast GoPro content in real time and spontaneously via Twitter and Periscope is a good complement to some of the on-demand and edited footage that it's been developing," he said.

Building excitement around its products and services is important to Twitter right now, as some of its top brass have left the company. Its stock has been steadily declining for months, as Wall Street has been disappointed with Twitter's ability to generate money and grow its membership.

Bot Woes

"Twitter doesn't make as much money from its advertising as Microsoft and Google do with their search engines," noted Darren Hayes, an associate professor at Pace University.

Twitter's portfolio isn't as diversified as its competitors either.

"Facebook has purchased many different companies and facilitates many other services," Hayes told TechNewsWorld. "Twitter has done some of that -- but not to the same extent as companies like Facebook do."

Attracting new users has been a problem for Twitter, as is getting a handle on how many flesh-and-blood members it has.

"Twitter has a problem with the number of bots using it. There's a huge number of followers who are just bots. People don't realize how big that number is," Hayes said.

"Twitter tries to adjust that. I've heard of people who have lost tens of thousands of followers in an hour because Twitter was going through and clearing out bots that were using the service," he continued. "So their membership numbers may be inflated."

Money Generator?

Integrating Periscope with GoPro could have an impact on Twitter's revenue stream.

"There are monetization options available, but only if this app really takes off," said Andreas Scherer, managing partner at Salto Partners.

"For example, celebrity athletes who are into action sports -- such as snowboarders, extreme alpine skiers, X Games players -- could potentially create huge numbers of followers," he told TechNewsWorld.

"That crazy ride down the mountain, the double back flip -- all these experiences can be shared in real time. The audience for those video streams are a great platform for targeted ads. It's easy to imagine a shared revenue model between Twitter, the brand and the athlete," Scherer continued.

"Similar business models work today on YouTube," he pointed out. "It takes millions of followers per athlete to really make sense, though."

Any revenues garnered from targeted advertising will be a plus for Twitter, but they won't address the company's biggest problem, noted Brian Blau, a research director at Gartner.

"Twitter has to do a lot more with making the service more appealing to users," he told TechNewsWorld. "I don't think adding GoPro is going to add the tens if not hundreds of millions of users Twitter needs to make the business viable long term."

John Mello is a freelance technology writer and contributor to Chief Security Officer magazine. You can connect with him on Google+.

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