Twitter has launched Periscope, an app that lets users broadcast live video recorded on their smartphone directly to their followers on social media.
The micro-blogging site bought Periscope earlier this month for a reported $100 million. Periscope is Twitter's answer to Meerkat, a month-old live broadcasting app that made a splash at SXSW festival this month.
"Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the world. Going live will instantly notify your followers who can join, comment and send you hearts in real time. The more hearts you get, the higher they flutter on the screen," the company said in its iTunes listing.
"Hearts" are equivalent to "likes" on Facebook.
When a broadcast is finished, a replay is available to watch and exists for 24 hours before it is automatically deleted. Users can tweet a link to their live broadcast and streams can also be made private. The app is currently only available on iOS.
Earlier this month, Twitter blocked Meerkat's access to its so-called social graph - essentially preventing Meerkat users from importing their Twitter followers, making it hard to connect with people.
Periscope and Meerkat are two of a number of broadcasting apps. Ustream and Livestream have also popped up to take advantage of improving data coverage on smartphones.
The services are certainly getting traction. Silicon Valley venture capital firm Greylock Capital confirmed Wednesday that it had led an investment round in Meerkat, with TechCrunch reporting that around $12 million was raised.
But analysts said that both Periscope and Meerkat would find it challenging to make the service more than just a fad.
"It wouldn't surprise me if there is a second wave of engagement with the release of Periscope, but making it a sustainable long-term service will be a challenge," Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC by phone.
"Its success is based on the quality of what is being broadcast."
Live broadcasting apps also raise issues around events that are managed by strict rights agreements, such as soccer matches. A person could, in theory, broadcast the game from their smartphone.
"If people are using it somewhere that has heavily regulated rights management it is so difficult to police," Wood added.
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