Did Meerkat and Periscope Get Their ‘Lazy Sunday’/YouTube Moment During Mayweather/Pacquiao?

By Adam Flomenbaum 

“You used to have to search for hours for a good live streaming link, or wait until the next day to torrent it. Now, there’s Meerkat and Periscope.”

This is not something that will be featured in Meerkat or Twitter marketing materials anytime soon, but it first became a reality Saturday night during the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight. For those not wanting to shell out the $100 for the pay-per-view, all they had to do was turn to either of the live streaming platforms, where there were plenty of working streams of the fight.

While the quality of the stream wasn’t as good as watching it on a TV in HD, the fight wasn’t too exciting either. In December 2005, ‘Lazy Sunday’ went viral overnight, and truly put YouTube on the map – so much so that in 2008, Ars Technica wrote a piece titled: Did “Lazy Sunday” Make YouTube’s $1.5 Billion Sale Possible? Recall at the time that NBC insisted that the video be taken down, not yet understanding how to capitalize on its success.

The circumstances are a bit different this time, but Saturday night’s fight will undoubtedly result in a series of conference calls this week between the fight promoters and Meerkat’s and Twitter’s lawyers, and will spark debates about live streaming’s place within traditional broadcasting. If broadcasters do compare this to “Lazy Sunday” and YouTube, they ultimately did not win that battle. Instead, they had to adapt, learning how to harness the power of YouTube for their own benefit. Broadcasters are savvier now, and we are not too far away from a verified cross-platform simulcast of a show across linear TV, TV Everywhere apps, and Periscope and/or Meerkat.