Periscope will now let broadcasters make money off their live streams — so long as they’re willing to jump through a few hoops.
Today the live streaming service unveiled a new feature called “Super Hearts,” which allows viewers to purchase in-app hearts with real money and “gift” them to broadcasters. Broadcasters can then “cash out” the virtual gift for real cash.
This has the potential to be a big deal for some Periscope’s more influential users, many of whom also stream on other services that allow these types of interactions between broadcasters and fans. It may help Periscope keep some of these key users on its platform.
But there are a couple important caveats.
While anyone can buy and send Super Hearts, broadcasters need to be approved “super broadcasters” before they can cash out for real money. Periscope says “qualified broadcasters” shouldn’t have a problem becoming part of the program, but even then, super broadcasters are only eligible to cash out once they have accrued about $175 worth of in-app gifts.
There’s also the fact that the whole Super Heart system is more than a little confusing.
First off, there are two type of currency within the service: you buy Super Hearts with in-app coins, but broadcasters who receive them earn “stars.” There are three different styles of Super Heart, each of which has a different value star value.
It’s only when your star balance reaches a predetermined amount (assuming, of course, you’re a part of the Super Broadcaster program) that you can convert your stars into actual money. In the beginning, that amount will be about 185,000 stars, which works out to about $175. But broadcasters won’t see 100 percent of the money as Periscope takes a small cut after Apple or Google takes its respective cut of the in-app purchase. Periscope’s Director of Software Engineering Sara Haider says broadcasters will ultimately get about 70 percent after all fees.
While Periscope insists that this model is similar to that of other live streaming services, it will no doubt be at least a bit confusing to more casual Periscope users who are unaccustomed to the complexities of in-app tipping.
Still, it’s an important update for those influential users Periscope relies on to drive engagement.