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Up Periscope... video app soars right to the very top

It started out with the aim of publicising political protests, but now the live-streaming app is being embraced by everyone - from fashionistas to priests. Katie Wright looks at how it is gaining traction with consumers

Published 31/10/2015

Looking up: Periscope lets users stream video from their mobiles while others tune in
Looking up: Periscope lets users stream video from their mobiles while others tune in

The 'notspot' debate opened up in the House of Commons this week. The word describes a place where 3G, or broadband, internet access is either non-existent, or very poor. But what can be done about it?

When protests kicked off in Istanbul's Taksim Square in summer 2013, Kayvon Beykpour, who was visiting the city, turned to Twitter to get the lowdown. Frustrated that he could only read about the demonstrations, Beykpour got to thinking: since smartphones are so prolific, why isn't there a way to transmit video in real time?

He returned to the US, partnered with fellow tech bod Joe Bernstein and, the following February, Periscope was born.

An app that allows users to stream video from their mobile phones, lets viewers tune in and write comments or ask questions, and tap to generate little hearts that bubble up in the corner if they like what they see.

The stuff of start-up dreams, Periscope quickly attracted thousands of users - and the attention of Twitter, which acquired the app a year later. Within five months, the founders announced they had reached 10 million accounts and that the amount of footage watched cumulatively added up to 40 years a day - and it's easy to see why.

The platform appeals on so many levels - the interface is simple, you can sign up via Twitter in a matter of seconds and instantly create videos without having to spend hours editing and uploading to YouTube.

Plus, Periscope appeals to the Snapchat crowd, because 'scopes' disappear after 24 hours, so there's no need to worry about a video from years ago hanging around or blotting your digital history.

The format suits a whole heap of genres, from travel (take a stroll through someone else's city) to gaming (already huge on YouTube), fashion (scoping the finale of catwalk shows has become de rigueur) to toy 'unboxing' (yet another YouTube phenomenon).

Belfast Telegraph

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