Twitter has finally revealed their live streaming video app, Periscope, which they acquired back in January for an estimated $100 Million. The application allows users to share a link to a live audio or video streaming session, where other users can watch and/or listen to the stream and comment on it. This provides immediate competition for the recently popular Meerkat app, which was the talk of the town at this year’s South By South-West (SXSW) conference.
This is extremely interesting as Meerkat is rumored to have raised a reported $12 million dollar round at a $52 million post-money valuation just last week.
Meerkat, which launched just two weeks before the SXSW conference, relies heavily on Twitter’s platform. It uses Twitter login and had used its social graph to help users find people to follow before Twitter cut it off. You would think Periscope would rely on Twitter more, however it is more independent. Meerkat activity (Likes, Comments, etc) is reflected on your Twitter profile, whereas Periscope keeps all activity within the app. This is obviously intentional as it’s the same strategy Twitter used with Vine when they purchased them during it’s beta process.
This battle reminds me of Mark Cuban’s CyberDust trying to take on Snapchat. Although CyberDust doesn’t stand a chance to ever be anything more than a toy for Cuban, the battle between Periscope and Meerkat is actually going to be competitive. Periscope has the late start, they missed the hype at SXSW, BUT they are owned by the driving platform: Twitter.
Periscope Co-Founder Kayvon Beykpour said:
“It’s really hard to change people’s perception of what a product is after it’s been around for seven-plus years,” Beykpour explained. “Though other features deserve to exist within Twitter, I don’t think that’s the right way to launch a new experience that we think is special.”
That doesn’t mean the two products won’t mesh over time. It just won’t happen right away, he added.
As far as new functionality goes, the Liking system is very different in Periscope. Traditional social media has a similar Like button (just in like Meerkat), however Periscope allows you to like a video as many times as you want by tapping the screen.
Liking a broadcast in Periscope creates a floating heart effect from the bottom right of the screen, so as you broadcast you can see which parts people are most interested in and tailor your content to the audience’s preferences.
If you have a chance to test out Meerkat and Periscope, please leave your UX and reviews in the comment section!
Check out our other posts about Twitter.