Twitter adds live video-streaming feature to main app

Broadcasting live video on Twitter just got easier.

The San Francisco tech firm said Wednesday that Twitter users can now stream a live video by clicking on an icon when they’re composing a tweet, a move that could help the struggling company attract more people to use the feature as it competes with Facebook.

Before, Twitter users had to download a separate app called Periscope to share live video on the social media site. The live videos are still being powered by Periscope, but users of both apps can now comment or send hearts to show their support during a broadcast.

go-live-screenshots

“We started Periscope because we wanted to give people the superpower to share live video with an audience. Bringing this capability directly into the Twitter app is an important step because it brings that superpower to the hundreds of millions of people who use Twitter,” said Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour in a statement. “Twitter’s already the place where people go to see what’s happening. With this update, anyone can now broadcast what’s happening live.”

Twitter purchased Periscope in 2015, before the live streaming app launched. Since then, Twitter has been striking deals with sports leagues, media outlets and other partners to stream live video of events and news coverage on the social media site.

In September, Twitter started streaming the first of 10 Thursday night NFL games on the site after reportedly paying $10 million for the rights to broadcast the games.

But it’s also been facing more competition from Facebook, which also launched a live video feature but has far more users than Twitter. Facebook currently has 1.79 billion monthly active users while Twitter has 317 million.

In October, Twitter announced that it was laying off 9 percent of its global workforce, or an estimated 350 employees. It also announced that month that it was shutting down video app Vine, although there’s been speculation that the app could be sold to another company.

Anthony Noto, who is now Twitter’s COO, said back then in a statement that the company’s live video strategy was showing “great progress.”

“We intend to fully invest in our highest priorities and are de-prioritizing certain initiatives and simplifying how we operate in other areas,” he said.

Photo: The Twitter building is photographed Dec. 14, 2015, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

 

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