Meerkat, Periscope, and Younow – the Next Killer Apps?


There seems to be a battle brewing in the world of live video streaming over Twitter. Such a service turns anyone with a smartphone into a broadcaster.

The two apps that are competing head to head are Meerkat and Periscope. Meerkat was released about a month ago and Periscope was just released yesterday. At this point, both apps are available just for Apple devices.

There was a story in today’s Wall Street Journal about the two apps and Fred Wilson wrote about these two services, along with Younow, a similar app, on his blog today.

I don’t want to talk about the details of each app in this blog; there are already several sites that do that. If you want to learn more about these apps, here are a couple of good links: Meerkat, Younow, and Periscope.

I would like to write about what I see as some potential uses of these apps.

I remember when Twitter first came out I had trouble figuring out how it was any different than using the update status in Facebook, and so I was hesitant to use it. Now I am a big fan of Twitter. I also remember when Vine first came out, and I wasn’t quite sure what you could do with six second videos, but I have seen some clever ones, but I’m still not sure how such a service can attract a large enough audience to be a game-changer.

But I do see potential in Meerkat, Periscope, and Younow. However, as Fred Wilson points out, and I agree, these apps need to have the ability to save their broadcasts so that someone can watch it at a later time, and isn’t confined to only catching the broadcast when it happens to be live. Otherwise, the apps would only appeal to a very small audience.

When I think of what would make for an interesting live/archived broadcast it seems a starting point would be to look at who has a large number of Twitter followers, and from there, what they might do with the broadcasting capabilities offered by these apps.

My first thought would be musicians; how cool would it be to get a live video broadcast from Springsteen while he is backstage, 10 minutes before he is ready to take the stage. Such a video could give those not in attendance a little taste of the action, and Bruce could offer a preview of what his plans for the show were. It would also be interesting to broadcast a practice session from earlier that day when they are doing a sound check, with no one in the audience.

I also think there could be be something here for athletes. It might be interesting to hear LeBron’s thoughts about that night’s opponent or to watch an athlete go through one of his or her off-season workout sessions. I’m not sure if it would be possible to have these apps work with a GoPro, but it would be fascinating to watch Lindsey Vonn ski and talk her way through a practice run, from her perspective, in real time.

One other thought would be having actors/actresses send live video updates out to their fans while they are on location. Such a video could give the viewer a sense of what it is like to be on a movie set in real time.

I’m also thinking that perhaps the most intriguing use of these apps would be broadcasting my accounting class out to the world. Viewers would be mesmerized by my explanation of the difference between a debit and a credit, and be intrigued with how the students in my class are able to sleep through such fascinating material. I’m thinking the use of these apps could explode the number of Twitter followers I have. Keep an eye out for the big announcement…