Twitter to shutter live video platform Periscope due to financial concerns

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Twitter is shutting down its live video platform Periscope.
Image: Twitter

In 2015, Twitter acquired an interesting startup called Periscope. It had plenty of potential thanks to the fact that it focused on live video streaming—something that Facebook Live had just popularized. Unfortunately, Periscope never got to realize its full potential and has been fairly stagnant since the acquisition.

Now, Twitter has announced that it will be shutting down the platform due to the cost of operating it. The shutdown will happen in March, giving users just a few months to find alternative platforms to turn to.

Twitter is hoping to make the transition a little easier by offering many of Periscope’s features within its main app.

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Tough Decisions

It’s never good when a company has to give up on one of its exciting acquisitions. However, sometimes that needs to happen for one reason or another. In Twitter’s case, shutting down Periscope appears to be a financial issue rather than a problem with the platform itself.

Twitter said, “The truth is that the Periscope app is in an unsustainable maintenance-mode state, and has been for a while. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen declining usage and know that the cost to support the app will only continue to go up over time.”

The social media giant also noted that it would have made this announcement sooner if it hadn’t needed to deal with other problems that arose as the result of COVID-19.

In a blog post, the Periscope team writes, “Leaving it [Periscope] in its current state isn’t doing right by the current and former Periscope community or by Twitter. We still believe in the power of live video to solve impactful problems, which is why we’ve brought most of the core capabilities of Periscope into Twitter.”

The new features will be included in the main Twitter app. One of the most notable is Twitter’s Live mode—which is essentially the same thing as Facebook Live.

Fortunately for those who have worked on Periscope in recent years, Twitter notes that there won’t be any layoffs associated with the platform’s termination. It’s unclear what roles the affected employees will transition into.

Ticking Clock

Periscope users don’t have much time to get their affairs in order before the platform shuts down. Twitter says that users will be able to download an archive of their recorded content prior to March 2021.

After the shutdown, the Periscope website will remain active and serve as a read-only archive of videos that people posted.

Meanwhile, the company is already taking steps to wind down the live streaming service. As of Tuesday, people aren’t able to sign up for a new account.

It will be interesting to see where Periscope’s users go following the shutdown. Although Twitter owns the platform, the company’s main app might not be the ideal pivot.

Services like Facebook Live, Twitch, and even YouTube are exceedingly popular in the live video space. Depending on the type of content they are producing, Periscope’s users could gravitate away from Twitter in the coming months.

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