The Wall recently published this article by me about how Periscope is shaping up after its launch, and where the opportunities lie for brands. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it in full below.
Periscope is a place where the mundane rubs shoulders with the mind-blowing. You can explore a Japanese fish market in the heart of Tokyo. You can check out a stranger's fridge. You can walk down the red carpet with Dwayne Johnson. You can check out a stranger's fridge. You can explore active volcanoes in Ecuador. You can even check out a stranger's fridge (Periscope users love looking at each other's fridges. I don't know why).
Periscope launched to much fanfare back in March of this year. It hit 1 million users in its first 10 days and, just two months later, 10 years worth of video was being watched per day on the platform.
By anyone's standards, that's quite the launch.
But now that the dust has started to settle, how is Periscope shaping up? And, the million dollar question: what does it mean for brands?
As with any new platform, it's only a matter of time before influencers start to emerge - and Periscope is no different.
Amanda Oleander may only have about 6k followers on Twitter, but she has notched up over 29 million 'hearts' on Periscope. This pretty much makes her Queen of Periscope. Viewers can hang out with Amanda as she plays chequers with her Grandma or paints in her studio. It's a pretty informal affair and you get the impression that Amanda is just making it up as she goes along, but that's kind of the appeal.
Some Periscope stars, like Amanda, appear out of nowhere. Others, like Keaton Keller, transfer onto Periscope from other platforms. He first made a splash on YouTube as a tech reviewer, notching up just under 450,000 subscribers. His output is a little more freeform than his YouTube reviews. Viewers can watch him blowing up fireworks or, if they're lucky, livestreaming the aftermath of his car accident.
Where you find influencers you're sure to find brands and it didn't take long for marketers to jump at the chance to reach these new audiences. When Periscope launched there was the predictable dash to get ahead of the pack and reach the new platform's users. Lots tried, some did well, many more dwindled into insignificance. Here are a few of our favourite success stories.
adidas Football livestreamed James Rodriguez signing his contract with the brand at their HQ in Germany. Opening up behind-closed-doors opportunities such as this is a great way to bring fans into the inner life of adidas and bring fans closer to the game.
— adidasfootball (@adidasfootball) March 26, 2015
Periscope has since been used by others to take fans behind the scenes at sporting events, including a guided tour of Wimbledon by Roger Federer. However, the platform has also been criticised by broadcasters for making it easier for pirates to stream illegal coverage of matches.
Red Bull livestreamed a series of gigs from their #RBGuestHouse events during Miami Music Week, including private gigs from Lil Wayne, Todd Terje and George Clinton. People from all over the world could tune in at set times throughout the day to watch stars take to the stage and play for the crowd.
General Electric went for a slightly more cerebral approach and streamed live discussions between their Creator in Residence Sally LePage and the ever-popular Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
So, should your brand get involved?
The common factor in all of the above examples is that the events being broadcast are of genuine interest. These events could be broadcast on Periscope, they could just as easily be broadcast on television. The risk with new platforms like Periscope is that brands want to jump the gun and get involved without asking the fundamental question - "does anyone, except ourselves, care about what's happening here?"
What this highlights is a fundamental distinction in the content that is expected from ordinary people and the content that is expected from brands. Don't be fooled into thinking that because thousands of people will watch someone rifle through their salad crisper, they'd be willing to put up with similarly mundane content from a brand. Brands have to play by different rules; they have to produce the goods.
So, if you've got something that the world genuinely wants to see and be a part of, fill your boots. There's a whole world of fridge-crazy Periscopers out there waiting to be entertained. But, tread carefully. You don't want to find yourself on the scrap heap.