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Periscope lets you buy and send Super Hearts that broadcasters can cash in

Periscope has a new revenue stream and a new way to attract the best live video content to its Twitter-owned app. Today Periscope launches Super Hearts — in-app purchase virtual goods that users buy for real money, send to creators as animated hearts that get them attention in the comment reel, and that broadcasters can then redeem with Twitter for a monthly cash pay-out.

After the 30% tax on in-app purchases from iOS or Android and transaction processing fees, Twitter will pay 70% of the cash value of the Super Hearts to the broadcasters and keep 30% for itself.

Super Hearts seem to be inspired by the livestream virtual gifting trend in China, where fans buy digital roses and stickers to send to broadcasters on Yingke, Yizhibo, and other apps. Last week, Apple formally approved the process of in-app tipping, or users sending virtual goods to content creators that are exchangeable for real money. Yet Periscope tells me it was planning to launch this feature any way, but now feel “blessed” by Apple.

The feature is unfortunately a bit confusing. You’ll see the Super Heart icon while watching broadcasts. Tapping it opens the Super Heart store, but first you’ll have to buy a bunch of virtual ‘coins’ starting at $0.99 with packages ranging up to $100. Then you can buy different kinds of Super Hearts with these coins, ranging from cheaper lightly-embellished animated hearts to expensive ones that give off explosions and feature your face in the center. You can then send these hearts by tapping across any broadcasts you watch.

When users send these hearts, they’ll show up more prominently on the broadcast than free hearts that users can already send. The people who send the most Super Hearts during a broadcast are shown on a leaderboard, which other viewers can watch in envy or broadcasters can check to see who to shower with love on camera.

Every Super Heart a broadcaster receives translates into a ‘star’ count. Once broadcasters have $175 worth of stars accrued, they can apply to join Periscope’s Super Broadcaster program. If admitted, they can cash out their star balance for real money via ACH transfer at the end of each month.

Regarding the fee structure and Twitter’s revenue share, Periscope’s Sara Haider tells TechCrunch:

“We created Super Hearts for qualified broadcasters to monetize their content, and our objective is to learn from and iterate on this program to help them realize the most earning potential. After standard fees from in-app purchases and payment processing, broadcasters will receive around 70% of the remaining value. Changes in fees and foreign exchange fluctuations means that the effective percentage can vary.”


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