Twitter raises Periscope to sink rival Meerkat

Twitter has officially launched its new video streaming service Periscope in direct opposition to the recently-introduced Meerkat service.

Periscope was bought by Twitter earlier this year as it continues to develop its audio and visual content to complement the text-based messaging at the core of its service. Like Meerkat, the ‘participatory live streaming’ video app allows users to watch, broadcast and comment on video and – so far at least – is only available on iOS devices.

Social media giants Twitter and Facebook are both trying to establish a dominant position in the audiovisual space, with the latter announcing a video player earlier this week that can be embedded into other sites – in what is perceived as an attempt to take on YouTube – while Twitter snapped up short-form video sharing service Vine last year.

Twitter has blocked access to some Meerkat features in order to drive users to Periscope, but the battle is far from over with the former just raising $14 million in capital investment and its chief executive Ben Rubin insisting there is room for more than one player in the sector.

Both Periscope and Meerkat are designed to allow users to create live video feeds and encourage commentary and questions from viewers – which sounds like it could be a valuable promotional and marketing tool – as well as save the videos.

Periscope ‘lets you share and experience live video from your mobile phone’ and is ‘a perfect complement to Twitter, which is why we acquired the company in January,’ said Twitter’s Kevin Weil in a blog post. ‘Periscope offers an audience and the power of a shared experience,’ he added.

In the case of Meerkat the videocasts are saved to the device, while Periscope allows them to be saved for replay within the app for 24 hours. Unlike its rival, Meerkat features a scroll-back option for comments.

A head-to-head comparison of the two platforms on venturebeat.com suggests a ‘sleek interface and ability to save video for later viewing’ means Periscope could be a winner with established brands, while ‘utilitarian’ Meerkat could get more traction among the general public.

For pharma, the emergence of participatory live streaming comes at a time when the industry is being urged to step up its involvement in social media in order to stay in tune with consumers.

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