Live Video App 'Meerkat' Rises and Falls at SXSW

Meerkat's tight integration with Twitter helped it rise to popularity, but may also be its undoing. Credit: Meerkat

Meerkat's tight integration with Twitter helped it rise to popularity, but may also be its undoing. Credit: Meerkat

Good morning. It's Monday, March 16th.

Here's what you should know today:

Meet Meerkat: the live video streaming app that everyone is buzzing about at SXSW—and that Twitter just tried to stop dead in its tracks.


Good morning to you on this Monday. SXSW is underway in Austin, and everyone is buzzing about the incredible rise—and potential collapse—of Meerkat, a live video streaming app. Here’s what you should know.

South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual conference that brings together the most innovative in music, film and tech in Austin each spring. It’s also where Twitter and Foursquare first rose to national attention. So when an app gains traction at SXSW, people take notice.

Meerkat, which launched less than three weeks ago, appears to be that app this year. Built on top of Twitter, the app makes streaming and sharing live video easier than ever. 

Fire up Meerkat on your iPhone, start streaming, and a live link will be automatically shared with your Twitter followers. Your audience can leave comments simply by replying to your tweet. And once the stream is over, that’s it. Much like Snapchat, video shared on Meerkat is meant to be ephemeral.

But just as SXSW was getting started on Friday, Twitter announced that it was cutting off Meerkat’s access to its “social graph” — making it much harder for the video sharing startup to integrate with the social network. (Twitter also confirmed that they are acquiring a competing live streaming app, Periscope.)

It could be a fatal blow, but Mashable reported that Meerkat sign ups spiked by as much as 30% after Twitter’s announcement. News of the crackdown helped the app, suddenly seen as an underdog, become the darling of SXSW.

So will Meerkat have staying power? Or will it go the way of Yo, Ello and other social startups that skyrocket and then fade away? You can let me know what you think on the tech/today Facebook page.


Drew Rapp

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