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Periscope broadcasts will soon live on forever — here's why that's smart

Periscope is learning what Snapchat has already discovered: A lot of times, people don't want their content to disappear.

Yulia Grigoryeva/ Shutterstock

Periscope is learning what Snapchat has already discovered: A lot of times, people don’t want their content to disappear.

The Twitter-owned livestreaming app announced Wednesday that user broadcasts can now live on forever instead of just 24 hours, a shelf life Periscope’s had in place for some time. Not all broadcasts will be preserved – you’ll need to add "#save" to the stream’s title in order for it to work – but the company says it’s building a more permanent solution "coming soon!"

You may not have seen this news – Periscope announced it unexpectedly around 6:30 pm Wednesday night – but here’s the quick and dirty analysis: it’s smart and long overdue.

There’s a reason that Facebook is pushing (and paying) to get influential people and brands to use its livestreaming feature. Good video content takes time and resources. Knowing that content will disappear 24 hours after it’s created, without any way to make money from it, is the ultimate turn off.

And this matters, because watching your friends broadcast whatever it is your friends do is only entertaining for so long. If livestreaming is going to take off, it’ll do so because the people you want to hear from, like your favorite musician or athlete or politician, are using it regularly. And those people want to know that broadcasting is worth the effort.

Periscope streams will survive on both Periscope and Twitter, which is good news for Twitter which desperately wants more video. On its Q1 earnings call late last month it mentioned video – and specifically video ads – early and often. More inventive for people to broadcast live on Periscope can only help.

Snapchat is dealing with this, too, by the way. It’s why it allows users to save snaps to their camera roll, or save private messages. It’s also a thorn in the side of its publishing partners, most of which have dedicated snapchat teams that create new material each day that disappears. At least in Snapchat’s case those publishers are making money.

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