Live mobile video streaming has come of age, it appears.
Meerkat made a big splash with the release of its mobile video streaming app just in time for South by Southwest and then Twitter rained on Meerkat’s parade by releasing its own live video streaming app, called Periscope. Here’s what the search volume for the two apps looks like during the past 90 days.
So, which one should you use? The short answer is both, for now.
Meerkat vs Periscope
At this point it’s unclear how the competition is going to shake out. The early bet would be Periscope because it has all the advantages Twitter provides but don’t be surprised if Meerkat finds itself the object of desire from the likes of Facebook or Google.
The core feature of each is to allow you to very easily broadcast a live video stream from your phone that anyone can watch and comment on in real time. The quality of the video is remarkably good.
While Meerkat prompts you to save your video streams to your phone, if you want to keep them, Periscope automatically uploads them to your Periscope account, making them available to your followers for later viewing.
You use Twitter to sign into both apps. But while Meerkat will post to your Twitter followers to announce your live stream and your followers can interact with you on Twitter, all interaction and video streams for Periscope occur within the app.
That’s kinda strange, given that Twitter owns Periscope but I wouldn’t be surprised if Periscope evolved to take advantage of Twitter’s features outside of the app. CNET has a nice comparison of the two apps:
Since Periscope has direct access to Twitter’s social graph data, it should come as little surprise that it is easier to find people to follow and to be found in Periscope than it is in Meerkat.
Both Periscope and Meerkat are iOS-only apps for now. Android users can turn to Hang w/ which is available on both operating systems, or they can will have to content themselves with two players who have been around for a awhile, Livestream or Ustream.Tv. They offer the same basic features and have been around for years. Livestream, it should be noted, integrates with WiFi-enabled GoPros.
Hang w/ Mobile Video Streaming App
Hang w/ has all the features of Periscope and Meerkat plus some those two market leaders do not, such as ad revenue-sharing and video archiving in the cloud. Here’s a demo of Hang w/:
Livestream Mobile Video Streaming App
Here’s a demonstration of the Livestream app:
Ustream Mobile Video Streaming App
Here’s a demonstration of the Ustream app:
Is Live Mobile Video Streaming A Fad?
The journalistic uses for such apps are obvious and for that reason alone, I think these apps have staying power. Media organizations are among the first-adopters. Their use will serve as promotion for the apps themselves. And social interaction will drive sustained adoption.
The apps are ideal for giving viewers a behind-the-scenes peek at whatever is happening at the moment within an organization and their utility as a tool for covering live events like breaking news, concerts or trade shows should be obvious.
I expect the annoying letterbox-flipped-on-its-side format that was once the domain of the occasional YouTube video will soon become a standard format.
I remain a bit skeptical about the video marketing efficacy of live streams in most cases because it runs contrary to the on-demand world in which we’ve been living for the past decade or so.
Finally, the glaring omission from this discussion is YouTube, which has the infrastructure and technology but thus far, no app.