People follow social media every day, numerous times a day, and social media is always constantly following you as well. Your thoughts, daily activities, photos, videos, what you eat, drink and everything else is on social media. Social media has taken the next step in literally following you with live video streaming.
Two live video streaming apps jumped into the social media world at just about the same time. Meerkat was released in February of 2015 and Periscope was quick to follow releasing in March of 2015. Both apps have similarities and differences while accomplishing the same goal of live video streaming.
Let’s take a look at these two hot, relatively new apps that are catching on fast. I will give a background of the two apps and then talk about the similarities and differences between the two.
It’s only fitting to start with Meerkat since they launched first. This app is available on both iOS and Android. Right now up to 5,000 people can watch one person’s stream at a given time. This app quickly found popularity soon after its debut when it was featured on the website Product Hunt and gain traction with use at the South by Southwest interactive festival (both in March).
When Meerkat was first launched it was featured in Apple’s Featured Apps but once Apple took it off that list is when Meerkat’s numbers started to slide. As of now it does not even rank within the top 100 social networking apps in the United States in the Apple Store.
The Meerkat app uses Twitter to share live feeds and comment on people’s stream. I will go more into detail about this in the similarities and differences. To downloaded this and try it out for yourself check out your smart phones app store or go to their website Meerkat.
The Periscope app was launched just weeks after Meerkat. This app is also available for iOS and Android. The startup for this app was purchased by Twitter for a reported $100 million dollars in March 2015. Twitter officially re-launched the application on March 26th, 2015 after purchasing it.
The Periscope services are available in the mobile application itself or on Twitter. Periscope users can connect to Twitter and it will allow the user to Tweet out links to view their live feed. Users are able to choose whether or not to make their video public or only viewable to their friends or followers.
Periscope delivered the biggest blow during the Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight with users streaming the live fight. Funny enough, Periscope, was one of HBO’s partners for the fight having a sponsored stream inside Pacquiao’s dressing room.
This is a fine line both of these applications will have to figure out along the way of becoming powerhouses. While live streams of celebrities behind the scenes are pretty awesome, they don’t want to get on Hollywood’s bad side with events like the fight being streamed live.
These two applications have several similarities, starting off with the obvious that they both allow users to stream live video. As I mentioned before both are now available for iOS and Android.
Both are tied to Twitter pretty heavily is where the biggest similarity factors in. Both allow you to share or tweet a link to your live-streaming video straight from your phone. Both allow you to comment, follow and gain followers like most other social media applications.
This is about where the similarities end. Essentially they do the same thing so like everything else one will most likely prevail over the other. Some example of this situation are YouTube vs. all other video sharing sites, Google’s search engine vs. all others, and Instagram vs. PicPiz.
There are a lot of little differences between the applications and it’s up to you to decide which you like better.
Starting off with the interface, the Meerkat interface is very direct. Once you open the app, at the top there’s a prompt to start your own video stream. Directly below that is a selection of current streams for your viewing pleasure.
Periscope is a little bit different, opening up to show you feeds you’ve recently watched or made. Videos on Periscope can be left public for up to 24 hours using the replay function, so just in case you missed someone’s feed you can watch it later. Meerkat is more like Snapchat where once the stream ends, it’s gone (yes, the my stories feature on Snapchat is like Periscope where they are saved for 24 hours).
While watching live streams on Periscope the chat function seems to take up a lot of the screen, especially when it’s a celebrities feed where people are constantly commenting. Meerkat places the chat near the bottom of the feed, has an options bar at the top, and leaves a big portion of the screen for the live feed.
When starting up a live stream on Meerkat it jumps right into the video feed almost instantly. While this is quick and simple, it sometimes causes viewers to experience choppy, buffering issues based on the user’s connectivity.
Periscope seems to have figured this out a little bit with a startup design. Once you tap on the camera icon it immediately takes you to a view that shows the frame of your smartphone’s camera, so you can see which way the camera is pointed. It also allows you to create the name of your broadcast as the app takes a moment to load a high quality feed.
Periscope’s comments are integrated within the application with the ability to leave a heart much like Instagram. Whereas Meerkats comments are through Twitter and show up with the @ sign.
Periscope gives you access to important data following your livecast, including retention, viewers, time watched and duration. This gives you insight to how effective and engaging your broadcast was.
It’s been harder for Meerkat to keep the quick momentum rolling they had when first launching when Twitter bought out Periscope. With Meerkat being so intuitive through Twitter it will have to figure out how to get around the Twitter blocks and promotions for Periscope.
Both of these have a high potential of success it’s just a matter of time. If you have more insight on either of these apps or know of any other good apps make sure to leave a comment below.
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