Twitter is expanding the ways to live stream video on Periscope with a new API announced today. Similar functionality was previously available as a part of a limited program started last October, but the new Periscope Producer API will let developers and companies create ways for everyday Twitter (and Periscope) users start live broadcasts from other apps and cameras. Interested developers can apply here.
Twitter named four partners who have already been using the beta version of the API, but there’s only one consumer camera so far: the Livestream Mevo. The other three — Telestream’s Wirecast software, Switchboard Cloud, and Teradek — are more professional video creation and management solutions.
Moving live streaming off the phone as Twitter tries to catch Facebook
The Mevo was announced at CES 2016, and was also the first non-smartphone camera to work with Facebook Live. The Mevo’s software turns the shot glass-sized camera into a quasi mobile studio solution — while there’s just one lens, the camera and app let users set up multiple 1080p-sized crops on the full 4K image, and they can switch between these on the fly while live-streaming. So for $399, you can now mimic the look of a multi-camera live-streaming setup on Periscope without buying any professional equipment.
In December Twitter started allowing 360-degree live-streaming on Periscope, thanks to an integration with the Insta360 Air camera. Twitter says the new API will likely open this feature up to other spherical cameras on the market.
Periscope wasn’t the first notable live-streaming app, but it had a stretch run where it was certainly the most popular. It even helped drive live-streaming pioneer Meerkat completely out of the market. But Facebook Live’s rise in popularity (and a slow path to Twitter integration) left Periscope reaching for users. Facebook also allows users to broadcast live video from different cameras, and so Periscope’s new API is Twitter’s way of trying to make up some of that ground.