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There was a lot of vaping at the '@midnight' Periscope taping

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In October, @midnight host Chris Hardwick and friends led a 24-hour Periscopereading of Moby-Dick. It was a feat of endurance, to be sure, but also an experiment in engagement. 

And last night in Austin, Texas, on the first night of SXSW@midnight became the first late-night show to stream an entire episode on Periscope

The Twitter-based livestreaming app has been used for more mundane activities, but as alternate channel for TV-watching, it's a natural extension of live-tweeting. "@midnight always had a huge fanbase on Twitter [with its segment] Hashtag Wars," said Walter Levitt, Comedy Central's chief marketing officer—so it was a natural transition. The @midnight account has more than 85,000 followers and over a million hearts. Hardwick is very active there too.

Friday night at the Parish, the Hashtag Wars segment got very interactive, as liberally soused fans joined Hardwick and comedians Arden Myrin, Chris Cubas, and Doug Benson to vie for points. There was more than one instance of on-stage vaping after Cubas offered Myrin his vape pen, but that was only after she joked about masturbating with it

In addition to engagement—the show's stream was full at one point—Periscope offers broadcasters more illuminating metrics, including “retention, total viewers, time watched, and duration,” said Elizabeth Luke, who handles consumer communications at Twitter.

Is Periscope partnering with other TV shows?

“TV shows are constantly broadcasting on Periscope and experimenting with the platform,” Luke said, “from set tours to Q&As to streams behind the scenes and during commercial breaks. Bringing Periscope into the fold has introduced an entirely new element into the way broadcasters can communicate with their audiences. Now, when you talk at the TV, it can talk back, providing a level of interaction that did not exist before.”

Photo by Mark Davis/Comedy Central 


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