No thanks, I’ll watch it later

The marketing world is latching on to the likes of Periscope and Meerkat as the “next big thing,” They are, but not in the way that you think.

This is what I saw when I opened up Periscope this morning.

This is what I saw when I opened up Periscope this morning.

If you don’t know, Periscope and Meerkat are apps where users can live stream video directly from their mobile device. Like any good social medium, it’s interactive. Viewers can ask questions and make comments while the video is live.

Wired’s David Pierce describes it as “consensual voyeurism.” That’s not far off the mark though, to be fair, that’s not far off the mark for most social media. In a world of time-shifting on-demand viewing, watching something live seems quaint and old-fashioned. Some things are suited to live viewing, like sports, awards shows, or the last episode of the Sopranos. For the most part, live programming isn’t the future.

Until you add interactivity. This interactivity is the selling point for Periscope and Meerkat. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to build a sustainable and sizable community. Instagram did it with photos, but photos are much different. You can breeze through scores of photos with the flick of a finger. Videos take time to watch.

The amount of time people are spending watching videos on Periscope keeps growing.

The amount of time people are spending watching videos on Periscope keeps growing.

So what is the future for live streaming? The key is integrating these apps into established social platforms, like Twitter and Facebook. Twitter bought Periscope before it even launched, for a reported $100 million, and the app already has 10 million total users with 2 million active users per day. Facebook is adding a live streaming element to their Mentions app for celebrities and public figures. Standalone apps for live streaming are a flash in the pan.

Do you agree? Do you use these apps? Do you even watch anything live anymore? Let me know in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “No thanks, I’ll watch it later

  1. Like many new media channels, this has a place within a niche community of users. I rarely watch anything live – except college football. Everything else goes to the DVR.

  2. About the only live thing that I watch is the news! I simply do not have the time to stand around using up time to watch what other people do! This makes me wonder what the demographic is like for these apps.

  3. Have I been living under a rock? I haven’t heard of Meerkat or Periscope! However, live streaming is definitely far and few between. As you mentioned, there are only a handful of things that consumers are willing to watch live—especially sports. So, the question becomes, who uses apps such as these and for what purpose?

  4. I’ve heard of Periscope, although I myself haven’t created an account . Not familiar with Meerkat. I am an avid NCAA football fan and love March Madness and will try my best to watch these events live- however I could see myself using one of these apps to live stream these events when I might be overseas.
    My thought is will marketers be able to infiltrate these apps with ads as has been done with YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc?

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