Battle of the Live-Video Heavy Hitters

What is Periscope and Meerkat? And what is the sudden craze around live-streaming apps?


First came Snapchat and Instagram’s introduction of the video functionality for users to show an unedited version of what they’re doing, instantly. Then Meerkat made a huge splash with over half a million downloads. And finally, Twitter seemingly hurries its release of Periscope. Take note, social strategists, here’s what you need to know:

The culture of the API:

As I wrote last week, Meerkat was the breakout star at SXSW. However, from the moment Meerkat hit the scene, sources were abuzz that Twitter’s own app was on the horizon. Interest was piqued further, leading to a user base increase of 30%, then Twitter attempted to block Meerkat from using it’s API.

Slow and Steady no longer wins the race:

I was at a Twitter workshop last week where we were told Periscope would be released in the next month. I was surprised when that same night, I start seeing App Store links on my Twitter feed to test Periscope. It’s very plausible that if Meerkat had not come into the scene and exploded amongst industry influencers, celebrities and everyday users alike, Twitter would have kept Periscope under wraps for longer.

It’s definitely worth noting this new era of speed we live in. Even though Meerkat’s functionalities are not as sophisticated as Periscope’s, the fact that an app of its kind hit the scenes so early makes it a legitimate contender in the live-video race.

Speed vs. Cost

We know that Meerkat only took one person 8 weeks to build whereas Periscope has been in development for over a year and was acquired by Twitter in January for a reported $100 million. Although Periscope is more user-friendly and has a suite of functionalities that Meerkat does not, we have to keep in mind how much less time the team has had to work on it and what may now be possible with their new rounds of funding. It’s an interesting time in the start-up industry and we’ll definitely keep our eyes peeled to see if Meerkat’s speed and its initial popularity allows this underdog to stay on the scene for longer.

What do you think? Have you had a chance to test both apps? If so, let us know what your thoughts are.

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