Twitter released an update today that will let you broadcast live video from within its app for iOS and Android. The feature is “powered by” Periscope, Twitter’s live video app, but can be used regardless of whether you have installed Periscope or created an account.
The move represents an attempt to blunt Facebook’s chief advantage over Twitter in live video: everyone who has Facebook on their phone can go live without downloading a separate app.
To start a broadcast inside Twitter, tap the button to compose a new tweet and then tap “live.” From there you can frame your shot and start your video. During the broadcast, viewers who see your broadcast on their timelines can tap in, comment, and send hearts. If you’ve used Periscope, it will all feel very familiar — and if you haven’t, it’s fairly intuitive. (Twitter had previously added a Periscope button to the app, but tapping it just redirected you to Periscope or to an app store to download it.)
Adding live video to Twitter raises questions about the future of Periscope, which Twitter acquired last year for an undisclosed sum, as a standalone app. Along with Meerkat, Periscope helped to popularize live mobile video as a broadcasting tool. But what first appeared to be a phenomenon looks more and more like a fad: Meerkat pivoted away from the space earlier this year after finding that average people never returned after their first few broadcasts.
Facebook rolled out live video to all users in January, and it has promoted it relentlessly — inside its apps and through an elaborate marketing campaign — ever since. But the company’s year-end list of most-watched live videos found a steep drop-off between No. 1 (“Chewbacca Mom” Candace Payne, a legitimate viral phenomenon) and No. 10, which had 88 percent fewer views.