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Like millions of others across the world, I watched the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight in a living room surrounded by other boxing fans. Except, the living room wasn't mine and my co-watchers were virtual.
That's right, like many, many others, I watched Mayweather defeat Pacquiao on Periscope. See also: Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: The fight in photos A few days ago, we joked in the newsroom that the live streaming services Meerkat and Periscope would be heavily used during this "fight of the century.
Cable PPV connections may have experienced issues with overloading that delayed the start of the fight by about 45 minutes, but by the time the fight was ready to go, Periscope and Meerkat were ready. But after waking up from my Kentucky Derby-induced hangover and finding that the fight was just starting, I decided to see if Periscope had any decent streams of the fight.
Did it ever. I tuned in in the third round and was able to see dozens and dozens of fight streams in the global "live" menu. Tapping into a few streams, it was quickly apparent that some were just standard Periscopes of friends at a fight-night party, while others were focused intently on television sets or computer screens playing the fight in real time.
The real media story on the fight is about how many people are Periscoping this stuff. Some Periscopers were shooting in portrait mode as is standard for Periscope , while others were shooting in landscape to capture more of a TV screen.
Some streams featured commentary from parties and shots of friends; others focused almost completely on the fight itself. Some streams were in crowded rooms, other in almost empty homes.
Based on the map on Periscope, I saw streams from all over the world.
There was even a stream of the fight from a police department in Africa. The Pacquiao-Mayweather fight was a very global story, and this was evident from the Periscope streams.
Keep in mind, Periscope is still relatively U.
Still, this was the first time I've seen so many global streams — certainly at one time. As a result, streams would frequently get shut down, either because Periscope put an end to the piracy or because of other intermittent connection issues.
As a result, finding a consistent way to watch the fight was a challenge. Often, a stream would be successfully active for one round, only to immediately go black. This wasn't really a problem, however, because like a hydra, we could just go to another Periscope stream somewhere else in the world to watch the fight on someone else's TV.
Soon, viewers started to notice a trend.
If a Periscope session go too many "hearts" Periscope lingo for favorites, achieved by tapping on the screen , a stream would get shut down.
Viewers started to harangue the users who were obsessively "hearting" the Periscope streams, telling them to stop or the stream would get shut down. The stream I ended up watching for half the fight was in Spanish but still very viewable and it had more than 10, people in it at its peak.
That's right. The stream managed to say up for quite some time before the influx of hearts appeared.
At this point, users started to beg the hearters to stop, both in English and Spanish. People begging people to stop hearting during the fight. Other streams like the one I was in for most of the fight was almost silent save the pleas to stop the hearts until the very end. After the fight was over, as audience awaited the judges' decision, commentary broke out over who should win.
In my stream, Pacquiao was the clear favorite, and there was a barage of boos and jeers when Mayweather was deemed the winner. The start of something new? It's to frame the Periscope narrative as one about the new realm of piracy; and there's plenty to discuss there, from the complex economics of fighters' earning 9-figure payouts to the future of set-top cable television and old-school PPV in an increasingly digital and mobile environment.
But I think that misses the point.
And the MayPac winner by unanimous decision Media companies can and will wring their hands over lost revenue — and that's a potentially valid concern if this sort of thing becomes mainstream.
For its part, Periscope, which is owned by Twitter, seems to want to have it both ways. And the winner is From an experiential perspective, this exercise really did feel like being in someone else's home at their fight-night party.
The transformative aspect of Periscope and other live streaming apps is that it can take you to a place in a much more intimate way than we've experienced before.
Hundreds of thousands — if not potentially millions — of users logged into Periscope and Meerkat Saturday night.
It may have been because of the fight, but I would bet many end up returning.
I used it for the 1st time because of this fight and it was great. This was true 15 years ago when Josh Harris was using the medium on Pseudo.
The difference is that 15 years ago — even five years ago — streaming was something only a few people could do. Today, anyone with a smartphone can do it. And that's powerful.
It was a good fight and I'd like to see it with my husband, who knows far more about boxing than I do. But something tells me the experience won't be as electric as it was watching in the living room in Spanish with 10, other Internet denizens.