As we take a look at these two new apps and wonder about the effects they are going to have on our growing digital world, it’s natural to think that these two simply sprang up overnight. One morning they were just there when yesterday they were not.
So where did it all start?
According to The Telegraph, an online news media resource, “Meerkat, formerly known as AIR and Yevvo, was founded by Ben Rubin in 2012…It debuted at SXSW festival [South by Southwest for those of us non-tech-festival-goers] at the end of February. Periscope was co-founded by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein, launched little over a year ago, and was purchased by Twitter in January for a reported $100m.” This was as of March 30th of this year. Since then, Twitter has fully launched Periscope and cut all ties with Meerkat, a fact which didn’t seem to bother the Meerkat CEO when he said in an interview, referring to Periscope:
“We don’t look at it as a rival,” he said. “That was a decision made within Twitter with their own agenda. We have our own agenda. We are lucky to be independent and outside.”
And so the stage is set. Meerkat is currently running a little less that 23,000 tweets per day, collecting just over 200,000 tweets in all. Periscope, likewise, has collected 110,000 tweets over just the past month, with 51,000 on the day it launched alone. The graph below comes from an article by The Daily Post on the subject.
Now, as the article mentions, these numbers are not insignificant. However, when compared to the “…6 million tweets strong hashtag #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik, powered to the top of the trending category by teen angst caused by a member of One Direction leaving the band, and the streaming apps might as well not exist:” (The Daily Post, How Many People Are Really Using Meerkat and Periscope?)
So although it seems the services are starting to gain footing, there’s still a long way to go before either one becomes a well-known media service.
But which one is better?
In terms of actually debating the quality of either service, a lot of it comes down to subjectivity.
Meerkat markets their product by highlighting the simplicity of its design and user-friendly nature. As soon as a broadcast is started, a tweet is automatically sent out with the link to the livestream, and you’re good to go. As soon as the stream ends and you press stop, the livestream is gone and can no longer be accessed.
Constrastingly, Periscope seems to feature a few additional items. The most significant two are 1) Each livestream is saved for 24 hours. Anyone with the link can continue to watch a replay of the livestream during that time. And 2) With Periscope, you can create Private Broadcasts, limiting the availability to only a few members,
Both apps allow interaction during the livestream via twitter and posting comments on the live feed. Though both services offer these features, recent updates have the two in a neck-and-neck race for which one is easier to use. It comes down to the same subjective debate as Androids vs. iPhones. So much of either service’s user friendliness depends on your own personal preferences.
In the realm of video control and interface, Meerkat is a clear winner. The below is a screenshot of a Meerkat livestream setup, used in the article
As the writer of this article mentions, the screen does look a little cluttered. However, as of this point, only Meerkat allows users to film in a landscape format. Periscope is currently limited to a portrait view, even when the camera is held horizontally. And we all know how annoying those portrait-filmed videos on youtube are. Beware the black side bars of death!
So who’s the winner?
Once again, this argument is very subjective. While Periscope’s 24 hour replays make it much more available and eliminates the fear of “missing out,” Meerkat’s screen display and filming options (landscape vs. portrait) must also come into play when talking about product quality.
As a definitive answer cannot best be reached simply by talking about the subjects, I have plans to, in the next couple of weeks, host 2 livestreams- one via Meerkat, the other via Periscope. I will release a date and time for the event when I know for sure when it will happen, so please keep your eyes open for that.
With that, I leave you to draw your own conclusions. Experiment with both of these apps and let me know, in the comments, which one you liked best. Thank you for sticking around and I’ll see you again soon!