Twitter, which has made no secret of its desire to move beyond its social network roots and become a full-fledged media platform, today announced that its Periscope live-streaming service will now support professional broadcast equipment.
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TV studios will be able to stream live video to Periscope and Twitter from professional cameras, hardware encoders, and other devices that make up modern digital newsrooms. While individual journalists already use Periscope and its social media competitors like Facebook Live, giving access to entire studios is a sign that Twitter wants to poach viewers who would otherwise watch cable and broadcast news.
The option is only open to studios and other professionals who use certain software and hardware encoding protocols, and who apply and receive an invitation from Twitter. According to an internal specifications document, the preferred streaming resolution will be 960 by 540. Twitter says that a lower-than-HD quality is best for a viewing experience with limited buffering, but suggests that broadcasters stream in HD for static events like news broadcasts and conferences.
Video streams of breaking news on social media sites have exploded over the past year, thanks in part to the prominent role that Facebook Live has played in displaying protests over police violence and in some cases, the violence itself. For its part, Twitter has inked deals with the NFL and NBA to stream live games, and has also shown fashion shows and the Republican and Democratic conventions over the summer.
Twitter's bet on live streaming comes as the company struggles to grow its user base and as its board of directors is rumored to be considering a sale. While several media and tech companies expressed interest in buying Twitter last month, including Salesforce, nothing has been announced. Apple and Google, two other potential buyers, likely won't make a bid for the microblogging service, Recode reports.