What happened to Periscope?

Periscope was a live streaming video app developed by Joe Bernstein and Kayvon Beykpour in 2013 acquired by Twitter in 2015 before it was launched to the public and was steadily absorbed thereafter. The official reason for Periscope to be discontinued was the cost for Twitter of maintaining it as a standalone app. Therefore, the failure of Twitter to maintain Periscope and to enhance its monetization determined its failure.

Founding and Early YearsPeriscope was founded in March 2015 by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein. It was developed as an independent startup and later acquired by Twitter, Inc. before its public launch. The platform aimed to provide live video streaming from a mobile device, allowing users to share real-time experiences and engage with audiences globally. Periscope gained attention for its innovative approach to live broadcasting and quickly attracted a user base.
Launch and PopularityPeriscope officially launched its mobile app for iOS in March 2015. The platform’s ease of use and integration with Twitter made it accessible to a wide audience. Users could broadcast live video and interact with viewers through comments and likes. Periscope’s “hearts” feature allowed viewers to show appreciation for content creators. The platform gained popularity among celebrities, influencers, journalists, and everyday users, leading to a significant user base and widespread media coverage.
Competition and GrowthPeriscope faced competition from other live streaming platforms, most notably Meerkat, which launched around the same time. Periscope’s integration with Twitter provided a competitive advantage, as live broadcasts could be shared directly on users’ Twitter feeds. This contributed to Periscope’s rapid growth and adoption. The platform expanded to Android devices later in 2015, further broadening its user base.
Acquisition by TwitterIn January 2015, just a few months after Periscope’s launch, Twitter acquired the company for a reported sum of around $100 million. This acquisition aimed to enhance Twitter’s capabilities in real-time content sharing and engagement. Periscope continued to operate as an independent app but was closely integrated with Twitter’s ecosystem. Twitter users could easily discover and view Periscope broadcasts within the Twitter app. This integration helped Periscope reach a broader audience.
Features and User EngagementPeriscope introduced features like replayability, allowing users to watch broadcasts even after they ended. Viewers could also send hearts and comments in real-time during broadcasts, fostering engagement. Periscope’s “Map” feature enabled users to explore live streams from around the world, offering a global perspective. Content creators and broadcasters embraced the platform for various purposes, from sharing personal moments to conducting interviews and reporting news events.
Challenges and CompetitionWhile Periscope experienced significant growth, it faced challenges in addressing issues related to privacy, content moderation, and inappropriate use of the platform. Additionally, competition in the live streaming space intensified, with platforms like Facebook Live and Instagram Live entering the scene. These competitors had existing user bases and resources to promote their live streaming features. Periscope continued to innovate with new features and updates but had to contend with the evolving landscape of social media and live broadcasting.
Decline and ShutdownDespite its early success, Periscope’s growth began to plateau, and the platform faced difficulties in retaining and attracting new users. Twitter announced in December 2020 that it would discontinue Periscope’s mobile app. The app was removed from app stores in March 2021, and existing users were no longer able to create new accounts. Although the standalone Periscope app was shut down, Twitter retained certain live streaming functionalities and integrated them into its main platform, allowing users to broadcast live videos through Twitter. The decision to shut down Periscope was based on changing market dynamics and Twitter’s strategic priorities.
Legacy and ImpactPeriscope’s legacy lies in its contribution to the popularization of live video streaming on social media platforms. It played a pivotal role in shaping the way users engage with real-time content and interact with content creators. While the standalone Periscope app no longer exists, its influence is evident in the live streaming features integrated into other social media platforms. Twitter’s decision to acquire and integrate Periscope reflected the importance of real-time engagement in the world of social media. Periscope’s pioneering spirit and innovative approach continue to influence the broader social media landscape.


Periscope was a live streaming video app developed by Joe Bernstein and Kayvon Beykpour in 2013. Beykpour became inspired to develop the app after reading about protests in Istanbul on Twitter without being able to see what was transpiring.

Before the app was even launched, it was purchased by Twitter in 2015 to address the rapid growth of competitors offering Meerkat. Periscope was an immediate success, surpassing 10 million accounts four months after release. Twitter also noted that users were watching the equivalent of 40 years of content on the platform each day.

December 2016 marked a pivotal point for Periscope as some of its features began to be integrated into the main Twitter app. Four years later, Twitter announced it would be discontinuing Periscope effective as of March 2021.

Let’s take a look at why Periscope met its end after just six years.

Rising maintenance costs

In a statement detailing the March 2021 shutdown, Twitter noted that the core Periscope app was “in an unsustainable maintenance-mode state, and has been for a while. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen declining usage and know that the cost to support the app will only continue to go up over time.

Maintenance costs were also high because Twitter had to maintain two separate apps with an overlap in functionality. As the user base for Periscope decreased, there was not a similar and appreciable decrease in operational costs. 

Twitter integration 

Related to high maintenance cost was the way in which Periscope was steadily absorbed into the main Twitter app. 

Integration started as early as 2016, with Twitter incorporating the Periscope Live Broadcast feature into its mobile app. That same year, Twitter made a deal with the NFL to stream Thursday Night Football games while relegating Periscope to streaming behind-the-scenes content only.

Effectively, the Twitter platform became as functional as Periscope but with a much bigger audience. 

Squad acquisition

Some argue the demise of Periscope was influenced by Squad – a video and audio chat service acquired by Twitter in December 2020.

The acquisition of Squad was less important than what Twitter planned to do with it. A company announcement regarding the acquisition stated that the Squad app was being retired with more immediacy and its video features absorbed by Twitter. 

That the similar acquisition of Periscope took so long was largely due to COVID-19 and other projects taking priority in 2020. But it did highlight Twitter’s preference to acquire companies and absorb their features into its platform completely.

Key takeaways:

  • Periscope was a live streaming video app developed by Joe Bernstein and Kayvon Beykpour in 2013. The app was acquired by Twitter in 2015 before it was launched to the public and was steadily absorbed thereafter.
  • For Twitter, the cost of maintaining Periscope as a standalone app became too high. What’s more, a decrease in the Periscope user base did not mean the app was cheaper to operate.
  • Twitter’s acquisition of video service Squad had little impact on the demise of Periscope. But in a broader sense, the Squad acquisition was representative of Twitter acquiring other companies to increase functionality.

Quick Timeline

  • Periscope was a live streaming video app founded in 2013 by Joe Bernstein and Kayvon Beykpour.
  • Twitter acquired Periscope in 2015 before its public launch to compete with Meerkat, a rival live streaming app.
  • Periscope quickly gained popularity, surpassing 10 million accounts in four months after its launch.
  • The app allowed users to broadcast and watch real-time video content, breaking barriers of distance and time.
  • However, Periscope faced challenges due to rising maintenance costs and declining usage.
  • Twitter integrated Periscope’s features into its main platform, reducing the need for the standalone app.
  • In December 2016, some of Periscope’s features began to be integrated into Twitter’s mobile app.
  • Twitter’s acquisition of Squad, a video and audio chat service, also signaled a preference for consolidated functionality.
  • Periscope’s high maintenance costs and declining usage made it economically unviable for Twitter to continue running it independently.
  • As a result, Twitter announced the discontinuation of Periscope in March 2021.

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