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Twitter prepares to open up live video API

Tim Maytom

Twitter is aiming to increase its appeal to media publishers by making it easier to post live broadcasts. The social media platform is set to introduce a new live video API today which will enable third parties to connect their own video tools with Twitter’s Periscope Producer interface.

The API will enable media organisations and advertisers to stream live video directly on Twitter using professional-quality equipment, a facility that was previously restricted to firms that had struck a direct deal with Twitter, such as in previous partnerships with the NFL and the US Presidential election debates, among others.

Telestream, Wirecast and Livestream Switcher are among the API partners that will help publishers connect with Twitter’s system and launch more professional video on the platform. Twitter’s previous video feature for broadcasters, Periscope Producer, had much more limited functions that were designed to primarily appeal to vloggers and amateur video producers, rather than large publishing firms.

Twitter hopes the move will encourage more live video to be created and distributed via its platform, which could in turn revive its popularity among both users and marketers, as online interaction becomes increasingly focused on video content. The company’s stagnant user growth has caused its stock to plummet to all-time lows, while consistent issues with harassment have made the platform less popular among users.

The introduction of a video API follows a similar move by Facebook, which announced its own set of live video tools designed for broadcasters in April last year. Whether the release will enable Twitter to compete with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat in the live video arena remains to be seen.