The Word Is Out On Periscope, And It’s Set The Meerkats Off And Running

Just a few weeks ago, Meerkat was the hottest new video streaming application. At the same time, Twitter was locked in negotiations to acquire Periscope, watching as attendees of South by Southwest Interactive Festival engaged in thousands of live broadcasts from every corner of the event, building a foundation of users for Meerkat.

If you are not aware, Meerkat and Periscope are live streaming applications that can be viewed via Twitter and allow viewers to pose questions and discuss themes live with the broadcaster.

The question is, will this battle of the brands become a real David and Goliath story, or will the powerhouse that is Twitter crush Meerkat from existence? The simple answer is, who knows as the media industry is a fickle beast, and the winds of fortune don’t always favor the brave.

A number of reports and online blogs have already ran with Periscope, saying it’s superior in both technology and functionality. Clearly, the ownership of Twitter gives Periscope a certain advantage. The reaction to the growth of Meerkat by Twitter was not too friendly, as they immediately restricted Meerkat accessing the full Twitter social graph, just prior to the purchase of Periscope.

Meerkat does have strong branding, first-mover advantage, and simple functionality that make it a natural fit for social media users. However, Periscope may be in a stronger position to jump ahead into a mass market, advocating the use of Periscope via Twitter, leaving Meerkat as a well used and respected, yet niche, application.

Regardless of which product wins out, some of Silicon Valley’s most powerful investors and commentators are taking sides. Suddenly, the live streaming platform you use is a statement of which team you’re on, as reported by Erin Griffith of Fortune.

This could not be truer than for Gary Vaynerchuk, who is one of the initial investors in Meerkat and a master of live video webcast. Gary actually tried to invest in Periscope. However, he got in a day or so late and missed out.

“The big tech discussion this week? Meerkat vs. Periscope. And I figured it was about time I weighed in on the discussion.

First off, full disclosure: VaynerRSE, my fund, invested in Meerkat. I also, full disclosure, missed the boat on investing in Periscope. Seriously. I tried to invest one year ago and missed it by a couple of days. In fact, here is the email I sent when I found out I had missed it:

Okay, so it was one year. Still. That hurts, because I would have made money on the exit with Twitter, said Gary.”

Gary goes on to ask if making decisions about whose side we’re on too soon, is foolish in this age of David and Goliath software battles. More importantly, Gary raises the question of the viability and the difficulty of maintaining a live feed.

There may be a place for both Meerkat and Periscope, as there is no shortage of users in the mushrooming market of social media producers and amateur broadcasters, so it’s probably best as Gary suggests, to wait and see.

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