Twitter is Launching Audio-Only Broadcasting on Periscope

Twitter announced that they are launching audio-only broadcasting on Periscope (on iOS). In other words, they are enabling podcasters to use Periscope as a way to do live podcasts for their listeners. It doesn’t appear that this was Twitter’s intended use for the audio-only broadcasting feature – but that’s how I suspect it will be used.

Richard Plom, Staff Engineer of Periscope, wrote the following on Medium:

Broadcasting with audio only in Periscope is something the community has been asking for, and have been doing already by covering the camera lens. Sometimes people are not comfortable being on camera, but they still want to broadcast and interact with others via Periscope’s powerful chatroom feature. It was requested that we build this feature for #HackWeek, but after some research and focusing on the core of the problem we realized we could get it done in three days.

His Medium post also has a brief explanation of how audio-only broadcasting on Periscope works:

The iPhone microphone produces the audio stream and we continue to use that as-is. The camera produces a video stream that we immediately discard, and instead we create dynamic video animations informed by the audio data that we render on the iPhone in real-time. The audio stream is sent to the audio visualizer renderer which takes the raw audio bits and generates the waveform and volume levels indicator. This new stream is sent to backend instead of the one from the camera.

And, there you have it. Periscope made it easy for podcasters who don’t use video to do an audio-only podcast on Periscope. I don’t think most podcasters will decide to switch to Periscope exclusively as a result of this new feature. But, I can see the Periscope audio-only broadcasts being used as something “extra” for fans to enjoy.

Periscope Launches Super Hearts

Periscope (which is owned by Twitter) has launched Super Hearts. It is part of their Super Broadcaster Program. The program will enable (some) people who broadcast live on Periscope to earn money. Right now, the Super Broadcaster Program is only available in the United States, but will roll out internationally “soon.”

Periscope provides an easy way for podcasters to do a live show. People who watch the show can give the podcaster hearts – that flutter over the screen. It is a way to show that you love what a podcaster who is broadcasting on Periscope is doing.

Super Hearts are new types of hearts that are larger, animated, and more fun to give. To give Super Hearts when your watching a live broadcast, tap on the Super Hearts icon right from the broadcast to change which types of hearts you send – then tap away to your heart’s content.

The Super Hearts are not replacing the original hearts. Those will still be available for viewers to give out. You can only send Super Hearts to a broadcaster when they’re live.

If you want to send your favorite Periscope broadcasters Super Hearts the first thing you need to do is tap “get coins” on Periscope to purchase a coin package from the App Store or Play Store. Each package allows you to send Super Hearts until the coins run out. Once you stock up, you can select and send any of the Super Hearts.

What do Super Hearts do for Periscope broadcasters? “Each Super Heart is worth a different star value, and when a broadcaster receives Super Hearts, it contributes to their star balance.” That’s all.

Periscope has launched their Super Broadcaster Program. The program allows select broadcasters who have applied and been approved to exchange their star balance from Super Hearts for cash. In order to apply for the Super Broadcaster Program you must meet certain requirements.

Here are a few of the requirements:

  • You must be a resident of the United States.
  • You must have an active Periscope account for at least 30 days before applying.
  • You must have a minimum star threshold of 185,000
  • You must have created at least 5 broadcasts that are publicly available over the course of the last 30 day before applying.
  • You must have an average of 50 live viewers and 75 replay viewers per public broadcast.

I cannot think of a more confusing, complex, way of putting together a system that was intended as a way to enable viewers to support Periscope broadcasters. It takes several steps in order to obtain Super Hearts, and it not entirely clear from the announcement whether or not it costs real-world money to obtain the Super Hearts.  Viewers who go through all that can send Super Hearts to the Periscope broadcasters, or podcasters, they want to support. However, doing so won’t actually give real-world money to the broadcaster until and unless he or she is part of the Super Broadcaster Program.

Periscope Introduced Periscope Producer

periscope-producerPeriscope makes it easy for people to explore the world in real time through someone else’s eyes. Podcasters can use it to do a live show and share it with the world as the show is being recorded. Periscope has introduced Periscope Producer, which is designed for broadcasters.

Periscope Producer is a way for brands, media organizations, and other live video creators to broadcast high quality streams from devices beyond a phone or tablet.

With Producer, you can stream high-quality live video from external sources, including streaming software, hardware encoders, and professional cameras, on Periscope and Twitter. Just like any other broadcast on Periscope, viewers can send comments and hearts, and watch live in the Periscope and Twitter apps as well as on the web at

Periscope Producer has been used by news organizations to extend the reach of their network broadcasts and added timely, relevant content to breaking news events and the conversation that surrounds them.

Additionally, media organizations have streamed award shows, conferences and other noteworthy events with Producer. Previously, experiencing events like these required a physical presence or more traditional way to tune in. With Producer, broadcasters can bring these events to Periscope, allowing their audience to watch them together.

Broadcasters who are interested in creating live video with Periscope Producer can apply for access at Periscope Producer is only available on iOS at this time. Part of the application asks what kind of software or hardware encoder you are planning on using (such as OBS, Teradek, Wirecast, or others).

Periscope is 2015 App of the Year

Periscope best of 2015Periscope has been named the App store Best of 2015 by Apple. The Best of 2015 list created by Apple was split into two categories. One was “Apps” and the other was “Games”. Periscope is at the top of the “Apps” list.

There doesn’t seem to be much information about exactly how Apple determined what should be on the list. If you view the list on iTunes, it says: “We debated. We argued. Everyone had favorites, but to make this list of 2015’s finest, there could be no doubts. What you see here made the cut – they’re the most visionary, inventive, and irresistible apps and games of the year.”

iTunes best of 2015

Periscope is definitely an app that caught the attention of Podcasters in 2015. Re/Code reported in April that CEO of Periscope, Dick Costolo, said at an earnings call that Periscope had added a million new users in the app’s first ten days on the market.

Twitter acquired Periscope in 2015, and gave it plenty of support. At around the same time, Twitter pushed Meerkat away by refusing to allow it to continue to access Twitter’s social graph.

By doing so, it prevented the Meerkat app from having the ability to automatically notify users when their friends were streaming. That made it harder for Periscope’s competition to gain a foothold on Twitter.

To me (and probably many other podcasters) the greatest thing about Periscope was their responsiveness to users. When it started, the only available option was to broadcast in portrait. Shawn and I made a couple of attempts to use Periscope to live broadcast our podcast, and found it impossible to fit us both on the screen. Later, after many had requested a landscape mode, Periscope introduced landscape to the app.

Periscope Introduces Landscape

Periscope app logoPeriscope has added landscape! When they first launched, the Periscope app only supported portrait broadcasting. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with having to broadcast in portrait, but it can be limiting.

Landscape has now been added in response to many people’s requests for it. Periscope held off on adding landscape until they could “ensure a seamless experience across all of our platforms (iOS, Android, and Web).”

Shawn and I have made a couple of attempts to use Periscope as a way to do a live broadcast while we recorded our podcast. We found impossible to fit both of us on camera and on screen while using Periscope in portrait mode.

While some of this problem could have something to do with the layout of our studio, it was obvious that having access to a landscape option would have made things easier. It will be interesting to see how things work out next time we attempt to use Periscope to broadcast a live show (and use the newly added landscape instead of portrait).

Periscope has also made changes that improve accessibility for visually impaired Periscopers. There isn’t a lot of details about what they have specifically done, other than that the newest version of Periscope will support iOS accessibility features.