Yesterday the long awaited “fight of the century” took place between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Although in the end it wasn’t what you would expect of such a fight (‘Money’ Mayweather won because he threw more punches), the way people all around the world watched it gave a glimpse at the future. Costing 100 dollar per view to watch it on your television, it was worth searching for cheaper alternatives. Of course illegal online streams like rojadirecta provided an alternative, but most of the time these streams wouldn’t stay online for more than one round. Luckily Twitter has a better idea of watching content online; Periscope.
The idea behind Periscope is so simple it made me mad I didn’t came up with it myself. The iPhone app allows users to tap a button, wicht starts a stream of everything your camera sees. A consuming user can than tune in on a stream by following it, which will push notifications if a new stream is online, or such a user can just search for interesting streams. The producing user can also start a private stream, which only allows certain users to join in on the fun.
Because of the ridiculously high price one had to pay to watch the fight, this free alternative grabbed a lot of attention last night. Streams of people aiming their iPhone at a TV to share the fight popped up all over the world. Some were at a bar, others in an empty living room. Some provided commentary, others just showed the video. In the end I think the entire fight could be seen for free using Periscope.
Why is this interesting? First of all, it shakes up the ancient Pay per View TV landscape. The medium television really needs to step up its game in order for it to stay relevant in the future. Secondly Periscope shows that people do not always need a monetary incentive to share. Producing users don’t get paid for sharing their content, but they apparently do so. Periscope is a great example of co creating an experience. Because the fight was mostly watched at home, consuming users literally entered the homes of unknown. A completely new experience made possible by the power of crowds, the internet and some caring hearts.
I think an app like Periscope tells us something about future content watching. With cameras getting better, internet becoming faster and IT getting more imbedded in our lives, it is inevitable that television as we know it today will be dead soon.