Twitter today added a new feature to its Periscope live-streaming app that it says users have been asking about for years: the ability to invite guests onto a live recording. The new feature is designed to let streamers bring in audience members, while the Periscope app will then broadcast audio from that person to everyone else in the stream. Twitter says you’ll be able to include up to three guests in addition to the host on a live stream. If any one guest drops off, new ones can then be added.
The feature is another attempt from Twitter to reorient its live-streaming suite into something that might attract more of the podcast crowd, as well as Twitch and YouTube streamers that thrive on live content. Starting in December 2017, when Twitter added the ability to go live from within its main mobile app, Periscope has become more of a feature of the Twitter platform than a platform onto itself. That’s largely because the live-streaming fad failed to take off in commercial fashion, as news organizations, entertainment figures, and regular users moved on from Periscope and onto platforms with bigger and more engaged audiences. Since then, a number of other companies, including Facebook and Instagram, have begun competing in the space with live video platforms of their own.
But Twitter, with its more newsy focus, has been trying to edge its way into the podcast and interview show market for a while now, having added audio-only broadcasts to Periscope back in September 2018. It’s not a given that adding guest invitations to the app will suddenly result in an influx of more engaging live streams that more directly involve guests. But it is a feature that sounds like it should have been added to Periscope a while ago, so it follows that it will get utilized to some degree by those who see value in the platform and its direct link to one’s Twitter audience.