Beyond Periscope and Meerkat: The State of Live-Streaming Video

By Kimberlee Morrison Comment

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There has been lots of buzz around Periscope and Meerkat since they hit the market this spring. However, live-streaming has been around for a long time. In the early days, live-streaming was crude and unreliable, and many live-streaming apps have come and gone. Still, there are several live-streaming platforms standing strong — some more suited for meeting the needs of brands than others.

While many brands are taking interest in Meerkat and Periscope, the two mobile apps are still in early stages of development and lack important tools for validating return on investment. Indeed, for early adopters of Meerkat and Periscope, this is a period of experimentation.

Still, despite the excitement and experimentation, live-streaming is a relatively mature industry. In fact, between Ustream, Twitch, Sweden-based Bambuser and Google Hangouts On Air, the live-streaming market has been well covered since 2007.

According to Bloomberg, these older live-streaming platforms have “survived by creating a niche or courting corporate clients.” For instance, Twitch — formerly Justin.tv — is a network for videogamers and was acquired by Amazon for $970 million last summer. Bambuser has established itself as a platform for citizen journalism, with investors including the Associated Press.

Ustream, which started as a consumer product, shifted its focus in 2013 and made a successful transition to a video platform for brands. In fact, Ustream works across a wide range of devices including iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as compatible smart TVs and set-top boxes.

According to Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable, Meerkat and Periscope are simply indications of the explosive growth in mobile video. Indeed, a Cisco report predicted that by 2017 video will account for 30 percent of internet traffic and 70 percent of traffic on mobile devices.

“In a lot of ways the Internet is becoming video,” he says.

Hunstable also notes that Meerkat and Periscope are good for the overall live-streaming and video ecosystem, but their biggest innovation is being Twitter-centric. Their biggest downfall: The lack of analytics tools and inability to drive real sales or traffic.

According to Bloomberg, the buzz created by Meerkat and Periscope has resulted in a “spillover effect on older rivals.” And Hunstable says for brands serious about using video to achieve real business goals, all roads lead to Ustream.

I believe business and brands are starting to act like media companies. Meerkat and Periscope are trying to build media companies, Ustream is building capabilities for brands to be media companies in their own right.

Readers: Which live-streaming platforms are you using?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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