So you've heard of Meerkat and now Periscope. Both are live video streaming apps vying for the hearts of millions of Twitter users and data space on their smartphones/tablets, worldwide.
Live streaming video can be a powerful tool in the hands of any user with a smart mobile device, utilizing the Meerkat or Periscope app; instantly connect and broadcast live video with user interaction in realtime over a popular social network.
Now anyone can be a self-made broadcaster, celebrity, and citizen journalist without the need for expensive equipment nor the maintenance of a technology infrastructure, which traditionally could only be afforded by large media companies. You just tap a few buttons and you're live video streaming; no need for that remote broadcast van for your next "on the scene" live report.
Livestream, Skype, Google Hangout, Apple FaceTime and many others have been in the video streaming business for years. The difference however, is that it's integration is new to Twitter, an already global social network known for breaking news and user generated social campaigns that has brought entire governments to their knees.
Let's see how each app stacks up against the other with their current feature set. Who will win this battle? Or can they coexist? Meerkat was first to market, but Periscope is now owned by Twitter.
Meerkat's Features: Version 1.1
- Live video streaming :)
- Simple UI
- Requires a Twitter account to sign up
- Comment: on live video stream and to Twitter simultaneously
- Comment feed: remains as a history that is scrollable until the live stream ends
- Comments: are automatically tweeted to your Twitter account as an @ reply conversation. Auto tweeting @replies can be disabled.
- Heart ("Like"): live video stream
- Retweet: live video stream and scheduled streams
- View and scroll all users' profiles - see who joined a live stream you are watching or broadcasting
- Flip camera view: Normal and Selfie view supported. Tap the icon to flip view.
- Uses device's flashlight: feature for broadcasting in the dark
- Follow users by discovery using Twitter's social graph: only through searching
- Save video (not comments, location, nor viewers data) - to camera roll after live stream ends
- Save video in app: nope, no storage in app. Once your stream ends, it's gone.
- Private live video streaming: all live streams are public
- Schedule streams: this allows your followers to subscribe, comment, and retweet upcoming streams
- List of active streams: only shows active live streams among users you follow and based on their likes and retweets.
- Stats: shows how many viewers are watching and how many likes a stream received
- Leaderboard: gamification encourages frequent app use and rewards you for doing so
- Stream delay and commenting: Takes 30 secs for a comment to reach the broadcaster
- Live stream location. Your city
Periscope's Features: Version 1.0
- Live video streaming - duh :)
- Simple UI - a more elegant design than Meerkat's interface.
- Requires a Twitter account to sign up - this process will eventually be more tightly implemented, because Periscope is owned by Twitter.
- Comment on live video stream - simultaneous commenting to Twitter can be disabled
- Comment feed - does not remain as a history while broadcasting they disappear quickly
- Heart ("Like") live video stream - when the video is tapped (single tap) a heart animates to signal that the broadcast is liked. A cute flutter of animated hearts in different colors may occur, representing each user liking a stream at the same time.
- Retweet live video stream - currently not available
- View and scroll all users' profiles who joins a live stream you are watching or broadcasting - you can only tap individual profile as they join, but they disappear quickly. No scrollable history of viewers unless you are the broadcaster, then you are given a list when your stream ends.
- Flip camera view (Selfie mode supported) - double tap the video to flip your camera view
- Follow users by discovery using Twitter's social graph: the app makes suggestions on who to follow when you first sign in. You can also do a search in app to find people to follow. This is a major advantage over Meerkat.
- Save video - (not comments, location, nor viewers data) to camera roll after live stream ends
- Save video in app - yes, stores live stream video for replay. "Replay" videos are only stored for 12 hours approximately, then they are deleted.
- Private live video streaming - you can select a group of followers only or make your live stream public (default mode)
- Scheduled streams - currently not available on Periscope
- Shows current active live streams - easily find all active streams among users you follow or the general community on Periscope. On Meerkat they are listed only by users you follow.
- Stats - shows how many viewers are watching and how many likes a stream received while the stream is active. When the stream ends, you get a report: Retention, Viewers, Likes
- Leaderboard: currently not available on Periscope
- Stream delay and commenting: Instant on. No delay between commenter and broadcaster.
Live stream location displayed - Shows a map with a red dot of your GPS in realtime. You can turn this feature off at the start of creating the broadcast.
- Swipe video downward to stop a broadcast.
Side by Side
Periscope is owned by Twitter, so the long term outlook is obviously deeper integration and access to Twitter's social graph for building a large community, faster than Meerkat. Meerkat just received $14 Million in funding to continue their fight to gain users and market share.
The implications of live video integrated with Twitter's 140 characters microblogging platform is significant for journalists, content creators, marketers, and many more. A Meerkat or Periscope win, is a win for us all.
Which app are you using or planning to use? Why?