Every year, a slew of new apps are “born” at SXSWi. Some will fail miserably, but there are always one or two that hit a chord with users immediately when they bring something new and interesting to the table. This year, it’s no surprise that one of the early stand-out apps is Meerkat.
The concept is simple: Meerkat allows users to Tweet live video (along with the hashtag #meerkat) to their followers. It’s easy to pick up, and using Twitter to broadcast the link makes it simple for followers to join in on the stream.
Meerkat also allows users to like, retweet, or comment on videos using Twitter when streams are opened in app. When you add your favorite users in Meerkat, you’ll be notified of upcoming streams and when your friends go live. Streams can be scheduled for a time in the future, so followers are notified and can make plans to watch.
We’re already seeing a constant stream of live video out of Austin this week, from Spotify giving a peek of their Soul Cycle class this morning to Mashable touring their SXSWi house. And even after a Twitter crackdown on Friday of Meerkat’s ability to use Twitter to import existing social connections, users have grown by 30%.
So what does this mean for advertisers? Since the app’s launch in late February, several tech-savvy brands have jumped on the platform and have taken a spin with live-streaming. While the technology isn’t necessarily a new concept, the ease of streaming and finding streams has serious potential. A quick search of the #Meerkat hashtag on Twitter brings up hundreds of links, even though most of them are people playing around with the app for a few seconds before shutting their stream down. In the future, we could see fashion houses using it to live-stream backstage at a runway show. Artists could show their creative process while painting or drawing. Restaurants could live-stream bartenders slinging drinks on a busy Saturday night to encourage watchers to join them for a cocktail. We’ve already been dreaming of scheduling live podcasts from the Stone Ward offices.
Early live-stream platforms like Justin.tv paved the way for many successful YouTube stars, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see some new video stars emerge out of this app. The key will be to find interesting, unique situations to share and interact with watchers in creative ways. So whether you’re showing the world a live view of your sleeping dog or letting a group of strangers ride along on your morning commute, Meerkat is yet another way to share a piece of your life, business, or message with the internet. We’re looking forward to seeing what you decided to stream.