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Rolandsmartin is Host/managing editor of #RolandMartinUnfiltered daily digital show; senior analyst, Tom Joyner Morning Show; author; international speaker; CEO, Nu Vision Media
Just over a year ago, we became fascinated by the idea of discovering the world through someone else’s eyes. What if you could see through the eyes of a protester in Ukraine? Or watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia? It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realized there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.
It seems like only yesterday that people were video streaming their hungover breakfast tacos and Shingy sightings from SXSW 2015 on Meerkat.
Alas, Meerkat has officially bitten the dust. Its creators at the startup Life on Air have pulled it from the App Store.
This wasnt really a surprise. Just months after blowing up at the Austin tech and culture festival last year, the startup raised $12 million and officially kicked off the live-streaming video craze that captivated big media and YouTube stars alike. For a brief moment, Meerkat was the little live-streaming app that could, and it retained its enthusiasts even as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube launched their own live-streaming services.
But from the outset it was clear that Meerkat faced an uphill battle. Twitter and Facebook were working on mobile video broadcasting services that were automatically plugged into users existing social networks. At SXSW, when Meerkat was at the peak of its popularity, Twitter kneecapped the fledgling startup by cutting off its access to users Twitter social graphs (i.e., their friends and followers). Rubin said at the time Twitter only gave him two hours notice.
Rubin and Meerkat saw the writing on the wall, and attempted a pivot last spring to become a video-based social network.
Ben Rubin ✔ @benrbn
We just removed Meerkat from the AppStore 😔 bitter sweet moment seeing it go while celebrating @houseparty
7:53 PM - 30 Sep 2016
143 143 Retweets 298 298 likes
On Twitter and in a number of interviews with the tech press, Meerkat founder Ben Rubin showed Life on Airs newest app: A mobile video social network (which is basically group chat but with video) called Houseparty. Its been available to download since February, but Rubin is only now claiming the app as Life on Airs.
Recode reports that it already has "nearly a million users" and more downloads than Meerkat ever did, nearly topping the App Store in May. However, the company hasnt specified if those are monthly or daily users, and the analytics service AppAnnie says that HouseParty is currently the 383rd-most-popular app in the iOS App Store, and the 20th-most-popular social networking app.
Social-powered video live streaming, meanwhile, hasnt really taken off. Although Facebook has paid publishers as much as $3 million apiece to stream live video, media people quickly grew weary of the format. Still, thats not stopping Facebook from pushing Live; the company is about to launch a major TV and billboard ad blitz to promote the feature.
Barry Petchesky ✔ @barryap1
Why yes, we do resent having to produce a certain amount of Facebook live video each week, how’d you guess? https://www.facebook.com/deadspin/videos/10157522027205072/ …
8:17 PM - 28 Sep 2016
4 4 Retweets 12 12 likes
Twitters live video app Periscope, meanwhile, has hit the skids, because Twitter has stopped growing. Thats why Twitter is now rolling out a "VIP" tier to encourage people to use Periscope.Perisearch,Periscope Profile