Twitter and the Rise of Real-Time Video Apps

Livestreaming through social was one of the key talking points at this year’s SXSW, and one new app grabbed more headlines than others, going by the name ‘Meerkat.’

The app’s success lies in its simplicity. Once it’s been installed, you can both live-stream from your current location (via the camera on your smartphone) and view other people’s videostream, all shared via Twitter. Multiple viewers can watch your stream – all they need to do is find the link you’ve tweeted, and they’re off.

As consumer behavior continues to desire the immediate reward and instant accessibility, this is yet another way to share everything from the minutiae of daily existence to, presumably, key moments in history – if it’s live, it can’t be suppressed.

Twitter has subsequently announced the acquisition of a competing company known as ‘Periscope’. Upon doing so, it has also blocked Meerkat’s access to the Twitter Graph, (as Meerkat used the data it provides to see who follows who, enabling the ability to broadcast a message to other Meerkat users, informing them of active streams).

This doesn’t spell the end for Meerkat, and their founder Ben Rubin has described it as merely a “speed hump”. The app still works – it’s just much harder to notify potential viewers of your streaming. Regardless, the buzz generated by Meerkat and Twitter’s acquisition of Periscope potentially signal a shift towards a new medium for communication. Time has described it as the “video equivalent of a selfie”.

In terms of brand opportunities, this would be a potentially fantastic way to handle major announcements. Launching your latest product? Livestream the launch to your Twitter community, quickly and easily.

Making a movie? Share a live-stream behind the scenes. It’s Google Hangouts, with the interested community to realize the potential. Will these apps take off outside of the media community?

It’s early days, but we can hear the VCs in Silicon Valley rubbing their hands together…

To explore Meerkat, Periscope and the marketing possibilities they present in more detail, don’t hesitate to get in touch.