Very few mobile apps have become as big an overnight sensation as the live video streaming app Meerkat, which launched in February this year. (Unless of course they make a cameo in a hit TV show like Monument Valley did in House of Cards.)
Back to Meerkat – the Israel-based app took Austin by storm at SXSW, and indeed the digital marketing community online.
What’s it about? The app enables people to stream video from their phones to their Twitter followers in real-time. The experience is quick, seamless and unique. And it’s a break from edited and touched up video content.
In 2 short months, the app has attracted 156,000 users, and over 90,000 videos have been streamed already!
With live, unedited footage like this gaining popularity, could we be entering yet another phase of content marketing?
Brands today are expected to deliver content that is high-quality and produced quickly in near-real time. Add to that their own criteria to reach and engage larger audiences. Meerkat helps fulfil these requirements.
Several brands (like Starbucks and
Red Bull) and reporters have jumped on the Meerkat bandwagon to engage with their followers online, and have received positive feedback.
A Sudden Change in Luck
With so much going for the app, it looked like it was on its way to start-up success – until Twitter cut off the app’s access to
its social network.
Shortly after, Y Combinator – Silicon Valley’s biggest start-up event, announced a ban on the live streaming of the conference.
Meerkat – A Cause for Paranoia?
Live streaming is not new – individuals and journalists have been live tweeting and reporting from public events for years now. Meerkat simply makes it easier to stream live video, giving viewers an even more personal and immediate experience. But it also gives the power of live content creation to anyone with a video-enabled phone, giving rise to concerns of privacy.
As Fortune’s Erin Griffith puts it, “Meerkat can be invasive in the same way Google Glass was.”
True, except Meerkat isn’t the only app with a live video-centric business module. Apps like Stre.am and Periscope (which, incidentally, was recently acquired by Twitter and explains the ban on Meerkat) offer similar features.
Live Video Streaming – The Next Big Thing for Content Marketers?
Instant live video streaming opens up multiple avenues for creative storytelling. Here’s what makes it so popular:
- ‘Real Content’: Live streams eliminate the scope for editing, making the content more spontaneous and more ‘real.’ Like in Snapchat, video streams on Meerkat cannot be re-watched, making the experience all the more unique.
- Easy to use: Meerkat is fairly easy to navigate and use – this is for people who want to share in real-time from busy events.
Will Meerkat survive amongst the competition?
With restrictions placed on how much of Twitter’s social graph Meerkat can access, there are concerns about Meerkat’s growth. Twitter’s backing of Periscope too, is likely to make the road ahead bumpy for Meerkat.
Founder and CEO Ben Rubin seems less concerned: Meerkat saw a 30% growth even after Twitter cut off its access. Rubin shared plans to start a separate network to host the videos.
Whether or not Meerkat takes off in the long run remains to be seen, but live video streaming appears to be here to stay.
This post is a part of our monthly People’s Insights brief for March – Part 1: The Mobile & Wearable Web