Up Periscope!

March 31, 2015 by Andrew Robinson in

I was at a meeting a couple of weeks ago with a colleague who had just come back from SXSW. He was giving us the highlights of some of the things he had seen. One of those big things was the Meerkat app that allows the user to live stream. Apparently this took SXSW by storm. Meerkat it was said was the new big hot thing.

Oh that was so last week.

Tero Kuittinen for the website bgr.com writes . . .

About three days after it received a lavish new funding round, Meerkat died an ugly and embarrassing death. It is hard to decide whether the Great Meerkat Debacle that has unfolded over the past week is a tragedy or a comedy — probably a bit of both.

The mobile streaming app that had whipped U.S. tech journalists into a frenzy announced $14 million in new funding on Thursday. Money poured in from Jared Leto, Greylock Partners and other illustrious sources. On the same day, Twitter launched its rival streaming app called Periscope. Apparently, investors didn’t stop to ponder why Meerkat people rushed to cash in so aggressively only a month after the app had debuted.

Well, we now know why.

By Sunday night, the consumer reaction to the Periscope-Meerkat rivalry was brutally lopsided. Twitter’s Periscope app had become a smash hit, breaking into the U.S. iPhone top-30 chart by Friday night. This is a rare feat for a social media app, and it demonstrated that Periscope had immediate and broad consumer appeal.

In stunning contrast, Meerkat crumpled like a wet napkin as soon as Twitter’s rival app debuted. By Sunday at 7:00 p.m., Meerkat had collapsed to No. 523 on the U.S. iPhone download chart.

This is but one example of how crazy the technology business is these days. One day you’re the next big hot thing and the next, meh, not so much. And television is smack dab in the middle of all of that.

That said though, the trends are clear. Streaming is here to stay, and grow, probably. The old business model of cable TV is going to become more fractured. There will be another “Meerkat” (or several) over the next weeks, months, years that will promise to be “the next big thing” only to discover that it really wasn’t.

It isn’t time to take off the seatbelt and put the industry on cruise control just yet.

Just ask the folks at Meerkat.

Andy- The GM