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How To Develop an App Like Periscope?

Everyone is doing it.

Facebook couldn’t ignore Twitter’s success with Periscope and hopped onto the live streaming bandwagon not that long ago. YouTube came to the party a bit later this summer with its anticipated mobile live stream debut.

Wondering how to develop an app like Periscope and join the fun?

Here are some of the best practices to help you get started.

Who’s Into Live Streaming?

Now, before you get the livestreaming app development project rolling, you need to get to know your target audience first.

AdWeek made a great comparison of Meerkat and Periscope user base:


And the apps geographical popularity compared:


Today, 25% of the Internet users watch at least one video per day. Between 64% and 85% of viewers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it.

When it comes to Periscope, here are some key stats you should know:

  • The average in-app session duration is 5.26 minutes, compared to just 2.26 minutes on Instagram for instance.
  • The majority of live streaming app users are aged between 16 and 34.


In general, users prefer to watch the following kind of content within live streaming apps:


What’s In It For Business Users

While the general public uses live streaming to watch funny gigs or educational content, for startups and innovative business streaming opens a wide range of additional opportunities:

  • Reduced costs compared to traditional events – no fees for rent, catering, and organization. You can hold a presentation or master class from the coziness of your office and reach the same large audience.
  • Higher engagement – encourage real-time questions and make communication with your customers a two-way street.
  • Content urgency – delivering “breaking news” now happens instantly. Share exclusive sneak-peaks and important updates as they happen within your company.

Now, having the two types of use cases in mind let’s take a closer look on how to make a live streaming app.


Key Features of a Live Video Streaming App

If you are planning to build a complete Periscope clone, here’s what you should include:

Live Streaming Actually

That’s not surprisingly, right? Yet, your goal is to figure out how exactly you plan to deliver it to your users in terms of tech stack and costs.

Here are the key technologies required for building a live streaming app like Periscope:

Wowza Media Server – it takes the RTMP input from the broadcaster’s device and instantly transcodes it to the various protocols required by other devices to view it.

The concept is known as adaptive bitrate streaming. After detecting the user’s bandwidth and CPU capacity in real time, the app automatically adjusts the quality of the video stream accordingly. The player client can switch between streaming the different encodings depending on the available resources. Yet, Periscope managed to reduce this delay time to up to 2 seconds.

You can also achieve better user experience with slightly longer delay by opting for HLS, HDS, MDash, or even Smooth, instead of RTMP

Additionally, you should look into various CDN (Content Delivery Network) providers and compare their stack to suit your needs the most.

Periscope also uses GPUImage – an open-source iOS framework design for processing video using the Graphic Processing Unit.

In their keynote speech, the company also mentioned utilizing the following tools:

  • PubNub for their in-app messaging.
  • Circle CI and Travis CI
  • Fabric
  • Algoria for search and indexing content.
  • GDCL for encoding videos.

Do you want to make an Android app like Periscope?

You can also tweak Wowza engine and SDK or try Castasy to power live streaming on Android.


Maps and Geolocation Features

Live streaming apps allow you to peek inside the lives of others in real time. And its rapid growth and high engagement rates can be contributed to the large global user base. After all, isn’t it exciting to watch the Rio Carnival from a POV perspective?

Periscope users can instantly share the location tag for their stream, and its added to the global app map.

iPhone users can also experience the cool “Teleport” feature, which creates an illusion of immediate immersion and allows users to start watching a stream right away.

So, if you are building a live streaming app like Periscope, look into iOS native MapKit and Core Location SDK, or make sure your developers are familiar with those.

When it comes to map design, Periscope team used a smart clusterization technique to make sure each pin (video stream) is visible even when there are a lot of broadcasts happening simultaneously in one geographic area. Clusters of 10+ streams are displayed as a number instead of an individual pin.

In-App Messaging

Periscope is a social media app after all, and hence they understand the need of users to communicate beyond the live stream.

The app features a sleek messenger, which doesn’t interfere with the broadcast directly. Messages appear at the bottom of the screen and float up while the video continues to play in the background.

Unlike traditional broadcasts, live streaming experience is more interactive as both viewers and presenters can interact in real time and exchange feedback.

As already mentioned, Periscope uses PubNub to power their chat. The definitive perks of this platform are:

  • Low battery consumption.
  • Powerful compatibility (all platforms and device ranges).
  • Processes large text messages rather fast.

Custom Animations

Periscope has set the high stakes for design and in-app animations as the app users can also enjoy the next features as:

  • Flying colorful hearts appearing when another user likes your video stream, which comes as a complement to the notification.
  • Animated map and custom pin clustering animation.
  • Animated gradients in the navigation bar and at the top of the screen.

While certainly, these cute elements add delight and depth to your app, they also increase the overall live streaming app development cost. Hence, you may want to skip those within your product MVP.

Video Replays

Each video is stored for replay for 24 hours. While that’s certainly a cool thing from a user’s perspective, you’ll have to invest in some serious hosting for this, especially as your app grows and scales.

Social Media Integrations

After connecting Twitter, you can instantly share your broadcast to your followers and find other peeps to follow based on your connections there.

Periscope also supports auto-saving broadcasts, meaning users can save the video on their device and upload it to YouTube or another network later on.

What Other Features Can Your Offer?

Do you really want to build a live stream app like Periscope, or a more intriguing product? Obviously, you can always be “Pepsi”, but why not opt for some additional requested perks? Here are a few ideas:

  • Choosing the quality of video based on your Internet speed and bandwidth.
  • Calendar integration to get notified when your favorite stream will be up again.
  • YouTube auto-upload feature.


The Cost To Build an iPhone App Like Periscope

Now, your favorite part – the money talks.

As usual, the final app price will largely depend on the number of features you plan to implement, your design and the range of devices you wish to support.

The costs, in this case, can be compared to those of building a social networking app and can range from $50,000 to $200,000 for a full-feature product. The development timeline will likely take at least 12 months.

If you have any questions about building live streaming apps and the best tech stack for those, don’t be shy and reach out to us!

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