March 16, 2015
Disappointed with the direction of his video startup Yevvo, Ben Rubin replaced it with a simplified iOS app for sharing live video via Twitter. Launched in February, Meerkat grabbed 28,000 users in its first week. In less than two weeks, that number had surpassed 100,000. Now the app is being used for everything from office tours and church services to skateboard videos and live event coverage. Meerkat, which reportedly took Rubin a mere eight weeks to build, has become a social sensation and the latest in the push for ephemeral apps.
“When it works, it’s really fun — and it’s easy to see how it could develop into a commonly used tool for broadcasting,” reports The Verge. “Also it’s easy to see why so many companies have tried to build businesses around live broadcasting before: Justin.tv, Ustream, and notorious Silicon Valley flop Color, to name just three.”
The Meerkat app works similarly to Snapchat’s disappearing photos, in that viewers can comment on streams but cannot replay or save the video. It’s designed for sharing live videos in a single moment. Rubin refers to it as “spontaneous togetherness.”
Meerkat reached No. 1 on Product Hunt the day it was introduced, and according to App Annie, it quickly became one of the top 100 downloads among social apps.
Meerkat, Snapchat, TigerText and others are addressing the growing needs of Internet users who want to share online without the fear that a potentially embarrassing image or text might last forever.
“The popularity of ephemeral apps is already attracting big money,” suggests Bloomberg. “Snapchat, which turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook in 2013, just got an investment from Alibaba at a valuation of $15 billion. Twitter, which bought video-clip startup Vine in 2012, isn’t sitting still either. The San Francisco company recently acquired Periscope, another application that streams live video, even though it hasn’t released a product yet.”
TechCrunch has posted an interesting write-up on the distinctions between Meerkat and Periscope.