Twitter announces live video API aimed at media companies, broadcasters

Twitter birds
Twitter's new API emphasizes its push toward increased live video ahead of its NewFronts appearance. Image: Alan O'Rourke/CC BY 2.0

Twitter has officially announced the Periscope Producer API aimed at adding new ways of sharing live video on Twitter for media companies and broadcasters.

The company said the APIs will allow for things like starting broadcasts directly from external hardware, software, cameras and web services without needing to connect them through the app. The API also will let third-party applications authenticate Periscope accounts, configure streams, start and stop broadcasts and publish broadcasts to Twitter.

Twitter has lined up a number of partners for beta tests of the API. Telestream’s Wirecast software plans to allow broadcasters to go live on Periscope and Twitter directly from the software and add elements such as live switching, animated titles, transitions and lower thirds. Livestream’s Mevo camera will allow users to broadcast, edit and produce live video directly to Periscope and Twitter over Wi-Fi or LTE. Switchboard Cloud’s web platform will allow for simultaneously publishing of live content to Periscope and Twitter. Teradek’s video encoders and software applications can now broadcast directly to Twitter and Periscope in 1080p.

Jefferies analyst John Janedis said the Periscope Producer API comes about five months after Twitter launched Periscope Producer, a move that has nearly doubled the total number of Periscope broadcasts per quarter. He said the launch shows Twitter’s commitment to live video.

“The announcement emphasizes Twitter's continued focus on live-video streaming as they look to improve the user experience and increase engagement. We look for Twitter to continue its push into live video as they compete with the likes of Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms,” wrote Janedis in a research note.

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Twitter’s video push will result in the company making a presentation this year during Digital Content NewFronts.

Twitter will use its May 1 presentation to show off new original content offerings and live programming to brands and agencies for the 2017 upfront season.

"We have made major investments in video over the past few years, and being able to present the breadth, depth and quality of that content at the Newfronts is the ultimate culmination of those efforts," said Matthew Derella, vice president of global revenue and operations at Twitter, in a statement. "In 2017 and beyond, we are investing further in the video viewing experience, content development and collaborations, and video solutions for advertisers and we are excited to tell that story to the industry."