Instagram are Testing Out Split-Screen Live Streaming

If you're in my generation, the term 'split screen' conjures up images of late night Goldeneye 64 sessions fuelled by store brand fizzy drinks and Haribo. For those a bit younger, it might not be such a familiar term, now that gaming isn't the social activity that it used to be. Seems like the Instagram team remember those days though, and they're currently testing a new way to implement the concept in live streaming.

The idea is simple: during a live video you can sub in a mate from a menu on the bottom right of the screen and they will be added to the feed, with the screen being split vertically. Apart from the extra person, the basic format of live streaming remains unchanged after that. Facebook actually rolled out a similar update a few months ago so it feels like a logical progression, but given that Instagram is much more closely mapped to mobile use than Facebook is, it makes even more sense here.

At the moment, the feature is being tested on a limited basis, available to a small pool of users, but this one is being fast-tracked, and will probably be launched proper within the next week or so. In cases like this, one of Facebook's platforms acts as a proving ground for the other. This feature has been shown as a worthwhile addition to Facebook, so it's being migrated over. That was probably the plan from the beginning; Facebook have always been very conscious of brand synergy.

The trouble with that is that there are so many identical features across platforms now that it sometimes hard to tell them apart. It's a scattershot approach, adding the same feature to everything and seeing which one sticks. Typically with anything video based, Instagram is the clear winner, but Facebook continue to bring such features out in triplicate to stand the best chance of success, and also to carry on elbowing Snapchat out of the limelight.

They've had limited success with this on Facebook and Messenger, which makes you wonder why they don't just throw all their weight behind Instagram and have done with it, but as stated above, there are benefits to having one platform as a testing ground and another as a real launchpad. Expect to see split-screen streaming on your Insta very soon.

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