A Brief History…
Live social streaming really first exploded back at SXSW 2015 when Meerkat burst onto the scene giving users access to exclusive event content (whether they were at the event or on the other side of the globe).
Unfortunately, Meerkat’s fame quickly diminished as users began abandoning the trailblazer after Twitter launched its own live video service – Periscope (oh and Twitter also removed Meerkats integration with Twitter which helped!)
6/ And lastly, THIS is just the beginning for Meerkat. –The revolution will be live streamed. ??
— Ben Rubin (@benrbn) March 14, 2015
— Periscope (@periscopeco) March 13, 2015
So what is Periscope?
Periscope, like Meerkat, enables users with a Twitter account to live stream video to their followers.
The standalone app also allows stream viewers to ask questions (which pop-up on screen) and ‘heart’ the broadcaster to show their appreciation. The service, which turned one at the end of March, has already racked up some impressive stats:
The service was also voted Apple’s App of the Year while also recently announcing drone support and broadcasts that last more than 24 hours.
Enter Facebook Live
However, Periscope’s reign as king of live video streaming could soon be about to end with Facebook entering the fray with its new, ‘Facebook Live’ feature.
The feature, initially rolled out to celebrities, then journos, is slowly being rolled out to all Facebook users right now.
And just like its contemporaries, Facebook Live offers users the ability to stream live, video content to its followers. However, now users can do it from directly within their Facebook mobile app.
Why is this significant? Well, while it probably goes without saying, here is a list of the top apps used globally in March 2016 according to App Annie:
For more on how to get started using Facebook Live, the team at HubSpot have put together a fantastic user guide.
But who will win? Periscope or Facebook Live?
Facebook has a numbers advantage when it comes to users, this is heightened further in Australia where Twitter is increasingly losing market share.
Facebook has a strong history of getting user acceptance of new features. It’s entirely feasible that the integrated Facebook Live feature will bring live broadcasted video streams to the masses.
However, despite this (at least for the time being) I will be sticking with Periscope – it’s just a better fit for my interests of sports and tech.
Not too mention the imminent introduction of sideline Periscope interviews after Thursday Night Football this coming NFL season as part a larger NFL and Twitter live streaming agreement.
— Roger Goodell (@nflcommish) April 5, 2016
This agreement and new direction may just be the boost that Twitter and Periscope needed as numbers continue to dwindle on Twitter in recent months.
However, what is clear is this – after plenty of hype in previous years, 2016 is looking to genuinely be the year that live video streaming truly reaches the masses. Exciting stuff!