UPDATE: The acquisition is now official, announced in a tweet from Periscope and retweeted by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.
This morning we told you about Meerkat, the video streaming service that blew up last week. The app is a dead-simple way to broadcast from a mobile device that piggybacked on Twitter's social graph to help users find an audience. It seems like Twitter had a similar idea. Business Insider is reporting that last month, Twitter acquired Periscope, a yet-to-launch streaming video service with a nearly identical use case.
The idea that in the internet age anyone and everyone can be a star has been around since the 1990s. The dot-com millionaire Josh Harris founded Pseudo.com, which hoped to empower everyone to become a digital VJ. A decade later Justin.TV gave this idea new life. Neither project found mainstream success, although Twitch, which focused on gaming, grew out of Justin.TV and sold to Amazon for roughly a billion dollars.
The hype around Meerkat, the purchase of Periscope, and the sudden surge in growth for services like YouNow, all indicate that we may have reached a tipping point where live streaming video isn't just a fun idea, but a viable business with mainstream potential.
It's not clear how much Twitter paid for Periscope or if the service will remain independent. Twitter acquired Vine pre-launch, but kept the product as a standalone app. The ability to easily record and share video arrived on Twitter just over one month ago. This acquisition highlights how focused the company has become on adding moving images into its offerings.