Live streaming via mobile apps is the latest technology spreading like wildfire through the socialsphere. Like all emerging technologies, there are trendsetting brands forging the path for the new technology, and there are heavy hitting brands swooping in to eliminate anyone in their path.
At this point, there are two horses in the race for live streaming dominance. One is a fresh startup that was the first off the starting line, the second is juggernaut-owned and a little slow to start.
The first app to be introduced was Meerkat. The app was introduced at South by Southwest (SXSW) just a few weeks ago, and users were devouring the app’s capabilities, in the best possible way. Meerkat was considered to make the largest splash in years at the SXSW conference, restoring a lot of what SXSW was originally designed to do. The startup was a breakout hit that allows people to host live video streams through their Twitter accounts. Big brands jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of this new technology, including Starbucks, Red Bull, and (randomly) the Miami Dolphins. The app saw a 30 percent increase in users each day of the conference.
Enter Twitter’s answer to Meerkat, Periscope. Periscope was acquired by Twitter in January for $75+ million. The live streaming app went live in Apple’s App Store this morning, but Android users will have to wait for the opportunity to download the app. Periscope has most, if not all, of the functionality of Meerkat, plus bonus features. The app allows you to broadcast live footage of whatever your smartphone’s camera is pointed at. The broadcast also supports link sharing, chat functionality, and hearts so your viewers can show their love and share opinions. Periscope separates itself from Meerkat by allowing users to store and save streams for future viewing, a functionality that Meerkat has yet to perfect in their app.
The two apps are poised to be in direct competition for the live stream market. How is a fresh start up (Meerkat) supposed to stand up to the titan that is a Twitter subsidiary (Periscope)? Meerkat has the advantage of being the first to introduce the technology. People have already adopted the term “meerkatting” when live streaming. However, Periscope has the benefit of Papa Twitter’s bank account and marketing team.
Time will tell which app will reign victorious. Meerkat has a tough road ahead of them if they want to stand among giants. But, in the end, the better functioning app will reign supreme.