One of my favorite songs is “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles. There is a line in the song, “I heard the news today, oh boy.” As I heard the news the other day about Meerkat App ditching live-streaming, I oddly began to sing this song.
You see, about a year ago in March of 2015, the world was introduced to the Meerkat App at the South by Southwest Festival. Yet about one year later, Meerkat App is calling it quits on live-streaming and instead focusing its efforts on a new video social network.
According to re/code, “Two weeks ago, Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin sent an email to his company’s 48 investors laying bare an observation that he’d made peace with months earlier: Meerkat, the live-streaming app that played the role of darling one year ago at the annual SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, was failing.”
I was an early adopted of the Meerkat App and wrote my first post about Meerkat on March 23, 2015: What is Meerkat? Three days later, on March 26, 2015, the world was introduced to Periscope, Twitter’s latest acquisition. I even wrote a comparative article about the two products.
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However, since Meerkat’s introduction, I saw the number of people I was following as well as the number of broadcasts I was seeing continually declining. On Meerkat, I found it difficult to find people to follow and likewise be followed. As of today, I’m only following 245 people and only have 194 followers (as compared to about 151,200 followers on Twitter). My last saved Meerkat stream was from July 21, 2015.
Heck, I even predicted that Meerkat App would be acquired by Facebook as Meerkat broadcasts began to be integrated into Facebook posts. Boy was I wrong. All Facebook had to do was introduce Facebook Live, which was ultimately rolled out to certain public figures last fall and in January 2016, Facebook Live became available to a variety of users (note: I still don’t have Facebook Live for my Facebook Page).
Furthermore, in the later half of last year, the world was also introduced to Blab, which allows viewing of up to four people at once in a conversational setting. I still have the beta version on my iPhone, yet just like Meerkat, I haven’t been on Blab for some time. Perhaps we will see Blab also pivot in the near future. All I know is livestreaming is an expensive proposition. And how do I know that? By looking at my data using on my iPhone.
I know that if I am using up a lot of data on my iPhone when I am not connected to WiFi, I can only imagine that the costs of hosting and pushing out live-streaming video to those people on WiFi. I’ve yet to see any of the live-streaming platforms incorporate advertising and I’m still waiting for the day when I will see pre-Periscope advertising rolls or in-stream ads. But thanks to YouTube, I’m already pre-conditioned to see advertising surrounding videos, so I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing advertising before a live-stream.
So as I reflected on the news I heard the other day (oh boy), I fired up my Periscope app this morning and talked about Meerkat App and its live-streaming demise. Even though I have about 3,300 followers on Periscope, I had maybe at most nine people watching the live-stream at any given time. As of this writing, I just checked my Twitter feed and a total of 43 viewers had watched my discussion about Meerkat. Perhaps people just aren’t tuning in to Periscope either.
While I do find live-streaming to be an interesting concept and am a big supporter of utilizing live-streaming for marketing purposes, numbers don’t lie. Without continued new and interesting live broadcasters as well as an easy way to find interesting broadcasts, I’m not so sure how long being “live can survive.”