The Battle for Video Streaming – Periscope vs Meerkat

Who is going to win the mobile live streaming video battle – Periscope or Meerkat? More importantly, should your business buy into the current hype and leverage this technology?

For those of you not familiar with these two contenders, they are two very similar apps with Meerkat having had the head start (launching in late February) and Periscope being previously acquired by Twitter and hitting the market a bit later on March 26th.

Both are free apps that allow users to watch live video streams or broadcast their own stream via their cell phone. Anyone around the world can tune in and interact via comments. Both rely on Twitter for distribution but Meerkat has been subjected to some restrictions.

New users of Meerkat (after March 14) are now required to manually follow other streamers while Periscope allows new users to automatically follow all Twitter followers. They are both available on iOS mobile devices. Meerkat beat its rival to the punch and also launched on Android this month.

The Battle for Video Streaming

Meerkat & Periscope - InnovaMap blog post

As an Android user, I downloaded the Meerkat app and searched for a business related stream. I was inundated with broadcasts of people taking a walk, driving, or doing some mystery activity, as there was no title and a blurry image for the broadcast. I ended up watching someone’s rant about what not to do on Twitter. The gentleman was definitely animated and although I did get one key take away regarding the period before an @mention in a Twitter post, I was more captivated with his wild driving pattern. It was a little concerning to watch him rant and drive. I have since watched U2 live in concert, a speaker at the On-Demand Conference and Brian Fanzo (ISOCIALFANZ) discuss the fate of Periscope and Meerkat on a few broadcasts.

Why Now?

Periscope and Meerkat are not the first to tackle live streaming with other players already established in the market such as UStream, YouTube, Livestream, Google Hangouts On Air, Justin.TV and Skype’s Qik. What makes Periscope and Meerkat unique is their simplicity.

There is no complicated set-up, no plugins required for viewing and users are broadcasting with one click. In addition, by integrating with an existing social media platform such as Twitter, promoting broadcasts is automatic with tweets published through the app upon recording. Periscope users also have the added advantage of intuitively finding and connecting with their Twitter audience. Meerkat’s solution is its Leaderboard, a ranking of the most followed broadcasters so users can quickly identify and build their audience.

Mobile use is on the rise and we are now more social than ever. Twitch CEO Emmett Shear claims the mobile market is now mature enough to sustain these new technologies. “Smartphones provide all the critical pieces for these new services. They take care of distribution through the app store, monetization through in-app purchases, incredible video quality through cameras and microphones, and connectivity everywhere with LTE internet.

How Can Businesses Leverage Live Streaming

There is no question that both apps with their ability to receive live comments, likes (hearts on the Periscope interface) and re-tweets, allow broadcasters to connect with their audience in a very powerful way. The ability to engage viewers in real-time and answer questions can translate into building an experience with your audience that feels one on one. An example of this is SportsCenter Anchor Robert Flores going live on Periscope during commercial breaks to answer questions from fans.

SportCenter Robert Flores - InnovaMap blog post

Whether you stream from an event, conference, or corporate office, you can take advantage of live audience interactions to gain a better understanding of their needs and further define your client personas.

Comments from a Meerkat broadcast are kept in the stream and can be published to Twitter for further analysis. In Periscope, comments scroll through and disappear though comments are viewable in the 24hr replay. Neither app provides comments or number of viewers if saved to your camera roll.

Leveraging video for content allows your brand to be in several places at once and immediately weigh in on breaking news or timely topics. With Meerkat and Periscope, brands can reach audiences all around the world and maximize their impact while having social conversations.

What else could you be streaming?

  • Exclusive back-stage access at an event
  • Product launches
  • Behind-the-scenes look at your office or store – as in the case of HootSuite with operation #FollowSun
  • Product creation, your very own “How It’s Made”
  • Live Q&A with your audience
  • Training

Hootsuite caption - InnovaMap blog post

This was a brief introduction to Meerkat and Periscope touching on some of the benefits of live streaming video and why this technology is becoming more main stream. Although there really is no clear winner yet, perhaps the more important question for your business should be – Can this technology be leveraged to further strengthen your content marketing strategy?

For a more in-depth comparison of each app and tips for maximizing your engagement, tune-in to one of our upcoming blog posts.

Jennifer Dalcin, Marketing and Social Media Managers\ InnovaMap - The Science of Content Marketing



Jennifer DalCin
, Marketing and Social Media Manager, InnovaMap

InnovaMap is an Ottawa based content marketing firm, assisting businesses who are driven by results. Creating strategic content strategies and online sharing that connects you to your target audience.

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