Twitter and Facebook Widen Streaming Video Gap with Meerkat

Real-time streaming video has been the focus of several companies in recent months, and now bigger players Twitter and Facebook seem to be decisively pulling ahead of independent player Meerkat. Or not, says Meerkat founder Ben Rubin, who disputes the measurement criteria. What we do know is that Twitter’s live video app Periscope now boasts 10 million total accounts, while Meerkat, in May, reported two million accounts. Live video is still, however, a very small percentage of all consumer video on the Internet.

Periscope_Twitter_AppIn The Wall Street Journal, streaming video companies revealed metrics and then tussled over their relevance. Periscope, says Twitter, “surpassed two million daily active users,” in a first-ever look at its numbers since its March 2015 debut. But Meerkat’s Rubin, who says his company measures live viewership, didn’t release any metrics, saying they are “not relevant” in comparison to the user metrics Periscope released.

Mobile analytics company App Annie describes the widening gap another way: Periscope was the App Store’s ninth most popular social networking app earlier this week, while Meerkat’s ranking was at 316. Other players in the space include Facebook, which has prototyped a live event stream, Instagram, which, due to a recent update, now lets users find photos and videos from events in real-time, and Snapchat Live, which aggregates users’ snaps “to create narratives about concerts and news events as they happen.”

The trend towards real-time streaming is, however, still in its infancy. In an email to WSJ, Forrester analyst Nate Elliott notes that “10 million Periscope accounts means only 3 percent of Twitter users have downloaded the separate app.” But, although live video is a tiny segment of the consumer video market, that market is predicted to grow dramatically.

Cisco Systems released a report indicating that by 2019, 80 percent of all Internet traffic will be consumer video, which includes videos that users upload as well as services from broadcast companies, Hulu and Netflix. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that?

For now, however, “take these numbers with a grain of salt,” says Elliott. “This is a little, tiny baby step in the right direction.”