Whether you are a technology guru or just can’t seem to put your phone down in public (or…ever), you have probably heard of the two newest video services that have brought live streaming video to the forefront of the digital ecosystem – Meerkat and Periscope.
While the concepts of both live streaming services are the same, there are ways each of the apps set themselves apart. Below is a breakdown of each apps’ pros and cons, as well as their potential for future growth.
Meerkat was the first mainstream company to enter the digital world and has grown to nearly two million users today. After being unveiled at the 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival, consumers flocked to the Apple App Store to download the free app. Meerkat gained around 160,000 followers within the first month of its existence.
Initially, Twitter gave Meerkat access to its social graph, but when Periscope launched and became an official partner of Twitter, Meerkat no longer had access to this competitive advantage – can you say #awkward?
However, a major way Meerkat differentiates itself from its competition is the fact that a user’s stream vanishes upon completion. This functionality provides a certain peace of mind to some users who might not want to use the app if the circumstances were different.
Take Snapchat for example. The app was founded on a similar premise to Meerkat, with the ability to share content with an audience and have it disappear almost immediately. Another major advantage to this app is that it allows you to share your streams on Facebook, which Periscope does not currently have the capability to do – two thumbs up goes out to Facebook for relieving some of that tension.
Lastly, Meerkat just recently announced a couple new updates this past week. One of the prominent new features is called “cameo”, which allows you to (consensually) hack someone else’s stream for up to 60 seconds.
How exactly does this feature work?
To keep things short, one user taps someone else’s profile and invites them to “cameo” on their own stream. The second user can then accept and take control of the first user’s stream for up to one minute. At any time, either user can end the cameo, which will then revert the stream to the original user’s control.
The last part of the company’s exciting announcement is the Meerkat Library. Meerkat now allows users the ability to save their streams to their own personal library and a choice to share archived streams publicly.
As you may already know, Periscope made its debut during the highly anticipated Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao Fight in May. Periscope gained one million users within just 10 days of its release in the Apple App Store.
Dependent upon personal preference, one major plus to this app is that you have access to your live stream for 24 hours after it ends. Users are also given the ability to view a map of live streams that they can tune into around the world (hence consumers playing “pirate”). This “previously, on Periscope” feature allows users to shift their viewing habits, letting them watch more at their own convenience – a quality that Meerkat unfortunately lacks.
Because of the partnership between Twitter and Periscope, the app has full access to Twitter’s API (including the social graph), which allows the app to better understand its users’ preferences and interests. This feature is also great for brands, allowing them to engage with loyal customers and giving them insight to any upcoming product launches, promotions, etc.
On looks alone, Periscope appears to have a more polished and well-thought-out look and feel – simultaneously creating a seamless user flow.
And the Battle Continues…
At the end of the day, a social network is only as good as its users. Although some would argue that Periscope is the current front-runner in the industry, the social team here at DEG is not dismissing Meerkat just yet.
With its recent updates, Meerkat is ready to play and compete for consumers’ hearts.
As live streaming begins to become more and more popular, these companies will continue to learn more about their user bases and what best serves their audiences.