Periscope vs. Meerkat – what next?

If you believe what’s written on the internet, then you’ll believe that Meerkat – the first of the live streaming apps which are only available on Apple iOS – has been killed by its direct rival, Twitter owned Periscope.

It’s easy to see why this opinion is held. According to App Annie, when Periscope launched on March 26th, it immediately broke into the top 150 free iOS apps, and peaked at number 31. Just over three weeks later, it still remains in the top 100.

Meerkat launched on February 27th, and only briefly cracked the top 150 in early March. At the time of writing, it has since fallen out of the top 1000.

It’s simple then, isn’t it? While both applications received much publicity from Apple, Periscope has the clout of Twitter behind it.

During the SXSW conference which took place on March 9-12, Twitter also cut Meerkat’s access to its social graph – a decision which potentially handicapped its growth and a decision which Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin described as “a small bump.”

While the numbers may not read entirely well for Meerkat, it is not the full story due to one simple fact – both apps are video based. However, Periscope places more emphasis on watching videos rather than streaming them.

It’s also worth remembering it’s early days for live streaming to go mobile. Users will have to find out what they want to achieve via these apps – do they want to broadcast live videos to friends and strangers; do they want to do anything at all? It’s still a question which has to be fully answered.

However, Brian Blau, an expert who covers social networking apps for IT research analysts Gartner, has gone some way in providing an answer – the audiences for both will be limited.

“[The audiences is] not limited as in small, he said. “But limited as in a certain type of person or business that wants to have that feature.”

Blau added he expects the Meerkat and Periscope audiences to increase, due to the level of user traction seen with similar apps.

For example, video messaging app Glide, which launched launched in 2013 now has 15 million users. There is also the parents’ nightmare otherwise known as YouNow, which dropped earlier this year and already has 100m users. Then there’s The Daddy in the guise of Google Hangouts, which has countless users.

It’s early days for both Meerkat and Periscope but the forecast is healthy despite Twitter’s decision to disallow the former’s access to its social graph. In light of the action, Meerkat went on to insist its users spiked 30 per cent.

In summary of the ‘what next for the Meerkat vs. Periscope’ question, Blau summarised: “I think they [Meerkat] have a harder fight ahead of them.

“But I don’t think they are doomed.”

So, is the next logical step for Meerkat to make a natural acquisition for any social network interested in mirroring Twitter and breaking into live streaming?

Facebook anyone?

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