FINALCOVER

Yesterday marked the end of the SXSW Interactive conference held in the Lone Star State. After a fun five days of panel discussions, networking, and of course, some social activities, we couldn’t help but notice something was missing…

While this year’s event seemed to generate a lot of buzz around virtual reality, there was no big consumer app unveiling or app thrust into the spotlight. You may remember last year’s conference where the conversation was dominated by the launch of Meerkat, a mobile live-streaming app, and had the SXSW crowd buzzing in a sea of bright yellow T-shirts. Meerkat’s flashy debut seemed to mark the beginning of a live-streaming revival. However, the fate of Meerkat was quickly changed.

Meerkat One Year Later

Just as quickly as Meerkat’s debut made industry headlines, the live-streaming app faced a major setback: Twitter cut Meerkat’s access to its social graph and acquired Meerkat’s competitor, Periscope. Without access to Twitter’s social graph, which had become imperative to Meerkat’s success, the company was in a bind.

On the heels of the 2015 Meerkat and Periscope fiasco, we analyzed the Periscope and Meerkat Twitter audiences in order to understand which streaming app was leading in key market segments. You can read our original post here.

One year later, Meerkat’s growth is dwindling. While the app grew its Twitter following by 26 percent, or 90,000 followers, Periscope grew a whopping 792 percent, or 747,600 followers (wow)! The app that was once used by the likings of Jimmy Fallon, Ashton Kutcher, and other prominent names in media slowly recoiled their usage. Even early Meerkat investor, Gary Vaynerchuk, eventually made a move to Periscope.

In a recent letter to Meerkat investors, CEO Ben Rubin explained,“The distribution advantages of Twitter/Periscope drew more early users to them away from us and we were not able to grow as quickly alongside as we had planned.”

Live-streaming is alive and well

Despite Meerkat’s hard times, live-streaming is very much alive and well… in fact it’s booming. At Affinio, the audience intelligence platform, we specialize in analyzing social audiences and grouping individuals into tribes of like-minded people based on their interests and affinities. While it is not uncommon for us to find tribes of ‘teen girls”, ‘WWE’ fans, and other common interest groups, we have most recently begun finding ‘Live-Streaming’ tribes. Yes, dedicated interest-based communities who care about anything and everything ‘live-streaming’.

Shared below is a tribe of ‘Live-Streamers’ we stumbled upon recently.

To provide some more insight into the types of people found within a live-streaming tribe, here are some insights all pulled from the Affinio platform:

How the ‘Live Streamer’ Self-Describes:

Top Used Hashtags by ‘Live Streamers’:

Top Interests of ‘Live Streamers’:

So the big question, what’s the benefit of live streaming?

Live-streaming apps have gained considerable popularity because they allow users to deliver exclusive, humanized, content to audiences in real-time. In addition, they have become an essential tool for marketers and business professionals.

Our friend, Ian Anderson Gray, Social Media and Technology Expert, says “Live streaming puts a face and some personality to your business. It’s an easy way to build relationships, brand awareness and generate discussion and it’s becoming huge!”

The future of live-streaming

As can be seen by the success of Periscope’s growth, live-streaming as a whole is gaining popularity but with a small selection of key players. Unfortunately, Meerkat may have been the victim of being one of the first apps to market.

While Meerkat hasn’t disappeared altogether, the live-streaming market is much more diverse with apps like Blab, Livestream, and YouNow all competing for a piece of the pie. Even the largest social networks have taken notice and are looking to capitalize on the live-streaming trend. In August 2015, Facebook launched ‘Facebook Live’ which gave access to celebrities or, verified accounts, the ability to share live video to their fans. As of January, Facebook began the worldwide roll out of the live-streaming feature to all Facebook users, not just celebrities. Another buzz-worthy app, Snapchat, a video and photo sharing app, is rumoured to be playing around with live-streaming video and isn’t close behind.

[Learn more about Snapchat’s Super Fans]

As for the future? Our prediction is live-streaming will welcome collaborative features. As shared by Ian Anderson Gray, “Although I definitely see the power of Periscope and Facebook Live, I personally prefer Blab. That’s because it’s easy to interact and collaborate with others (and possibly because I don’t feel like I’m talking to myself). It’s also an effective way of inviting your fans into the discussion!”

As bigger networks launch their live-streaming features, the live-streaming app market may become less diverse. With bigger user groups and dollars, the cautionary tale of Meerkat being swallowed by the power of Twitter will become more common.

Originally posted on the Affinio blog.