Who doesn’t like to cheer for the underdog? Or in this case, under-mongoose?
Meerkat (yes, the creature itself is a kind of mongoose) seemed to take the online world by storm after stealing the show at SxSW, only to be rudely shoved aside by Twitter, abruptly cutting the live video-streaming video tool’s access to the social graph–the feature which allowed Meerkat users to communicate with their followers on Twitter without having to re-build the audience from scratch.
Twitter had a good reason to choke Meerkat’s access to data. Last year it acquired its own live-streaming video app, Periscope, before it had even launched. Boo as long and loud as you like, and hate the corporate bully–but early reports suggest that Periscope–available on the iPhone today–actually provides a superior user experience.
Not least because of replays.
As Keith O’Brien reported here, Meerkat live streams could not be replayed by viewers (although the originator was supposed to be able to save it). The Periscope app displays not only real-time live streams, but a list of recent streams which can be replayed (you can block replays of a stream you created). This not increases functionality for users–it also exponentially increases value for brands, no longer faced with the uncertain ROI of developing and one-time-only customer experience.
Periscope, predictably, will have the access to Twitter data which Meerkat was denied, and is designed to build engagement among users (you can “heart” a stream while it’s happening). Also, Periscope had been under development for a year, whereas Meerkat, as one commentator puts it, “still looks like an app built in eight weeks — which it was.”
The party is by no means over for Meerkat, which today confirmed a funding round of–by varying estimates–$12 million and $14 million, and featuring an impressive list of entertainment-sector investors.
Yes, we all love the little guy–but one has to wonder whether Meerkat was in the limelight long enough to build sufficient loyalty to off-set Periscope’s advantages.