What Lies Ahead for Periscope - Monetisation (Part One).

With the recent issues from the fallout of the YouTube demonetisation drama; where talking about certain sensitive topics are discouraged by demonetising a Youtuber's channel. It made me think about the ramifications for Periscopers when it eventually happens to them. I wondered what it would be like if channels on Periscope were being demonetised.

Imagine saying something live that advertisers didn't agree with and they subsequently pulled adverts from your channel instantly. More lovely, juicy, delicious drama local to Periscope!

We know live video isn't the same as edited video. There is actually an extra level of safety for brand collaborations at least on pre-recorded videos (yes advertisers are bailing on YouTube because adverts have been seen against ISIS videos, but how many advertisers knew you could selectively apply who can see your adverts on certain types of content, not many it seems). The stuff managed by bots is a different story.

I'm imagining the outcry from a live-stream, and then witness how quickly the fallout would travel because of the simplicity of informing viewers via live-streams*. A Periscoper would have to be trusted with advertising (I hope), hence the slow rollout of an advertising program by Twitter.

I can see live-streamers changing to conform to the sensibilities of advertisers turning some scopers into daytime television if they haven't already. Maybe scopers will find themselves adhering to guidelines to make sure that happens. I'm also assuming a new approach from Twitter that takes into account more authentic metrics.

Who is Going to Qualify?

Currently only a few accounts can generate revenue from Twitter directly through working with Twitter's advertiser network, Amplify. Only in the US by the way, everybody else will have to wait. It's a first cautious step which harkens back YouTube's rollout (over many years). I'm fine with the pace of the rollout, Twitter should be cautious, because of the nature of instability with live-streaming.

My other thoughts drift to who would actually qualify, (after the celebs and Twitter verified users of course) and whether they are actually worth Amplify's attention (assuming Amplify will be the media handler).

It surprises me from the sentiment expressed in the Periscope slack group and on the platform, that a few scopers expect Periscope to do most of the monetisation work for them. Why is that when it takes less work and less talent to be popular on Periscope compared to YouTube? Don't forget the ease and accessibility with live-streaming, one doesn't have to sit down all day and edit video like YouTubers do, instead scopers can sit down all day and just chat. YouTubers have to fucking grind so much more!

In all sorts of ways because of live-streaming, the bar has been lowered in terms of acquiring an audience, the technical challenges aren't there, the audience is dynamic and current. Do other scopers realise how easy it is compared to YouTubers? That unknowing ease can create a misplaced perception that scopers have talent and a 'value' because they have an audience. 

Some scopers may simply have first mover advantage on Periscope, they may have attractive physical features, or they broadcast so much they gain an audience by default, or they are the only ones broadcasting in their area. People will also watch anything. While it seems I'm making reference to certain scopers, I'm not, I'm just pointing out the minimums to become popular on Periscope. It isn't difficult so if anyone can do it just by putting time into the app, how does a scoper declare themselves a scoper better than the rest?

This leads us to better metrics.

Better Metrics

Periscope have insisted on live views for scopers to determine what is a 'good' scope and a contributing scoper. This is how Periscope allow scopers to become VIPs in the first place; by focusing on live views. On the face of it, live views might sound important in the statistics, but dig deeper and one begins to wonder what is the value for an advertiser if a broadcaster has 30,000 subscribers, only 2-4k in views, with an average watch time of only 20 seconds.

Again, are people being realistic in the face of such metric? Is a scope with a watch time of under a minute worth anything? Are scopers checking their stats? I think 4-5 minutes is the minimum where you can deduce value and expect some kind of payout. Periscope focusing on live views is too simplistic and doesn't inform advertisers of a scoper's ability to keep people's attention would it's worth their while and also sends the wrong signal to scopers that this is what they need to pay attention to!

Importance has to be on replay watch time. Replay watch time isn't something that can be as easily gamed, and YouTube already uses this as one of their most valuable metrics to determine what is or what isn't a good video for the viewer's time and the advertiser's money. An argument can be made for live watch time as well if the tracking of viewers (those viewers who consistently return) is employed, maybe at a severely reduced advertising rate because live view watch times are typically shorter in length because of the sheer number of people coming into a scope live and deciding it isn't for them.

Duh! Don't Wait on Periscope

In the mean time as it will take a while to bring monetisation to the whole Periscope platform, I suggest scopers should seek their own forms of monetisation through PayPal, Patreon or their own merchandise. Especially if they get demonetised for not being PC later on down the road. It's going to happen, I'm not clever in predicting this. I'm just not sleep walking into it. Some YouTubers are currently discovering they shouldn't rely on the YouTube advertising revenue system that provides them with their main source of income, alternative sources of income provides redundancy guys!

If scopers are waiting for Periscope then they are not trying hard enough or thinking in a creative manner, and I would see this as indicator of their general ability to market themselves in the first place, never mind someone else's product! If a scoper can't think to throw out even a PayPal link, then I'm concerned.

If this sounds like I am picking on anybody I'm not trying to. I'm simply trying to point out that scopers shouldn't sit on their hands and wait for something to come to them, they should create their own opportunities instead of waiting to qualify for a native advertising program.

In (a sorta) Conclusion

While I'm concerned about the metrics Twitter/Periscope may employ, I'm more concerned about how we as viewers find entertaining broadcasts. As I write this, Periscope have determined that a 'breathtaking sunset' from Spain and a 'morning walk' in England requires my attention.

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Footnotes

*Its an irony in of itself that Periscope doesn't use Periscope to disseminate information to users of its platform.

If Periscope accounts were monetised, what would the criteria be? Let's take a moment to consider one of the biggest changes to the platform, it changes many things. Importantly, mindsets, some Youtubers currently are considering shutting down their channels because they aren't making money. They are willing to shutter everything considering the out lay in equipment. What is the minimum out lay for a scoper? A smart phone. How flippantly can we be as scopers to the detriment of the platform because our real goal was to make money.

There is already drama on the platform because of the way Periscope can't communicate their efforts clearly without money being involved! Enterprising scopers are finding their own ways which negates the issues raised.

For as little as $1 you can be a patreon and support my writing, podcasting and live-streaming. For a single dollar you'll be given access to limited chat broadcasts (on Periscope) and access to the private patreon blog. Link here

First Edition of Periscope Etiquette (How to not get blocked).

At the time of this blog post I've blocked over 1300 people from my periscopes. A lot of this is from the same type of accounts. I'm willing to accept there has been some accidental crossfire amongst these blocking of trolls, but that's because certain people fall into a certain type of behaviour, by being aware of this behaviour future citizens of Periscope can avoid these pitfalls and continue to be constructive individuals.

The accessibility of Periscope is wonderful and just because you can influence the broadcaster it doesn't mean you should. Some people have developed already a sense of entitlement and seem to forget that Periscope is free. Don't be that person and try and make the Periscope experience better for all of us.

I present this first edition of a crowd sourced list of don'ts while using Periscope.

When Signing Up For Periscope:

  1. Get a logical username and get a profile picture. This gets it's own section because its one of the most crucial for the Periscoper to be able to refer to you by name and for YOU to have a memorable name incase you want to periscope yourself later. Of course if you don't want to scope and don't want to have a reasonable name then you're going to thought of as a troll. Avoid this hallmark and you're less likely to be blocked! Having an egg for a profile picture indicates you're not invested in Periscope, this means you're more likely going to be blocked. If you already have a profile and have erred, start again and let your friends know if they are considering it.

Before Commenting in a Periscope (this should be obvious but isn't):

  1. Don't be Sexist! Don't type, 'open bobs', '0pen'. Expect to be blocked, it's gone beyond ironic and back to just being plain rude. You're block fodder now son!

  2. Don't be racist! Duh! Block fodder again otherwise.

  3. Don't type to the scoper in a foreign language unless you know they speak it. Ask first just in case they do. Foreign languages that aren't understandable are taking up valuable commenting space. (Personally I give two warnings just incase they understand me and then start blocking).

  4. Understand the tone of the Periscoper. Is he or she being ironic or satirical? Take note otherwise [BLOCK].

  5. Know your geography, learn timezones and local temperature. These questions are repetitive and only you probably care. These questions can serve to distract the scoper, read the title of the scope for a clue, watch the scope and try and guess or locate where the scope is and if you've learnt timezones you can figure it out for yourself.

  6. It's easier to block someone than it is to insult someone. Think about it, two taps vs your pithy sentence. You're not Han Solo, so you need to know your odds for survival.

Before Commenting in a Periscope (the non-obvious stuff):

This section requires some perspective from those in the chat. Imagine a scoper being asked the same questions everyday, imagine the scoper making a point, but your newbie question disrupts the show? A little bit of fact checking or awareness beforehand will help scopers a lot and in return will provide a better experience during the scope.

  1. Read the Bio of a scoper. Maybe you'll know who they are if you click on it? You'll also save the scoper some breath and you'll less likely disrupt them while you take the initiative.

  2. Read the title of a scope. This should be the most obvious, but isn't. A title exists for a reason. Read it!

  3. Don't direct the scoper asking them to show their face or the scene. Maybe they just did and you're just late. You're now akin to a heckler disrupting the scope for everyone. While you probably won't get blocked (unless you're rude), just be patient, you're not the only one in the room. Just because you can type this doesn't mean you should.

  4. If you don't understand something ask, instead of troll. Different cultures to yours exist on Periscope in real time (even if they speak english). It's more than likely that whoever is on the other end has another way of thinking and doing. Don't attack and not ask questions later. Welcome to a culture clash on Periscope, sit back and learn. 

  5. Don't joke about something without making sure the scoper knows you. If they don't know you use an emoticon indicating otherwise. (I can say already I've developed less patience with comments I don't understand). Tone is hard to understand from text, help the scoper with some hints.

  6. Don't be vague with your questions, include the context as much a possible. Don't ask 'what', 'why', or 'how come'? Yes it's easy for you, but understand there is a lag between the scoper and scopee and typing with a one word response makes it difficult for the scoper to recall your conversation if the scoper is handling five questions at once in a busy chat room. Again don't be frustrated, be patient.

  7. Don't text on Periscope like you're texting your friend on Whatsapp. Loads of little texts push everybody else's comments up and away into the replay. Keep doing and you'll get blocked for spamming.

  8. Unless you know the broadcaster is going to be receptive to it, don't give the broadcaster any shit. Some of my scopers insult me, but only because I know them, develop the relation and you can join in. There is a layer of camaraderie that exists that you can't jump ahead of if you're trying to do that. You'll probably get blocked.

  9. Don't self advertise in someone's scope. Don't ask for shout outs, pimping or a follow back without justification, at least develop a relationship with the scoper first. Don't jump into a busy scope and shill yourself.

  10. Don't ask the scoper to talk slower. Fact is, in a busy scope, the scoper is going to want to please the chat group, especially if some have paid. Making 80 people happy is a skill, if you can't understand there is always the replay. Only ask if the chat is quiet.

  11. The broadcaster makes the rules, you're the guest. Remember that! Appreciate the scoper as long as they appreciate you.

You can find me on Periscope @jonathanjk.

'Remember, etiquette is not censorship, it is citizen'. - JanisM (from a Periscope comment)