Twitter’s live video service Periscope has hired the top editor of online publishing upstart Medium as its first editor-in-chief. Evan Hansen, who served as head of the content lab at Medium, will start the new role on May 16. He has also worked as an editor at tech site CNET and as editor-in-chief of Wired.com.
Hansen: a good fit for Periscope
In a goodbye letter on Medium, Hansen wrote, “I still love the written word and Medium, but I honestly can’t think of many things more exciting than helping build a new platform with mobile phones and real time video.”
Medium has tried to be both a source for original writing and a service for outside publishers to get their articles online. The website was created in 2012 by Evan Williams, a Twitter co-founder, as a counter to the 140-character conversations Williams once encouraged. Though it has appeared to lose interest in creating online articles of its own lately, it has been focusing more on its role as a publishing system for others.
Periscope is important for Twitter
Periscope, which was acquired by Twitter last year, has become an important part of its growth strategy. After starting as a sort of real-time YouTube app for people to upload their concert performances, skateboarding tricks and other videos, Twitter’s live-streaming app is now looking to encourage better quality live video streaming.
Twitter’s live-streaming mobile app is encouraging more professional quality productions by celebrities and businesses. Periscope has signed a deal to broadcast Thursday night NFL games as well. Other tech firms too are focusing on live-streaming. Facebook Live is pushing hard into live video, while YouTube is preparing its own version.
Twitter, which has been struggling to grow its audience and retain new users, is engaged in an ongoing war with Facebook Live. According to BuzzFeed, Facebook is paying some celebrities and other creators to use Facebook Live, but Twitter has declined to offer checks despite demands.
Live video is the number two priority for Twitter, said CEO Jack Dorsey previously. In February, Dorsey brought on Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour to the executive team. The live-streaming service is based in a separate office from Twitter in San Francisco.
On Monday, Twitter shares closed down 1.54% at $14.40. Year to date, the stock is down by over 35%, while in the last year, it is down by almost 62%. The stock has a 52-week high of $39.24 and a 52-week low of $13.91.