Burned but Still in the Game: Can this App Survive Twitter Roadblocks?

Live-streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope have gotten a lot of attention recently. Available for Android on Google Play since May 1st, Meerkat originally launched on Apple’s iOS platform in March when it was the media darling at the annual SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.


Twitter, however, put up roadblock against Meerkat’s video streams just as SXSW began, giving the startup only two hours’ notice before banning it from using Twitter’s social graph. That’s a Twitter tool which allowed Meerkat users to seamlessly notify their Twitter followers about their live videos.  Why would Twitter do this? As luck would have it, the social media giant had just bought Meerkat’s live-streaming competitor Periscope.


This chart shows the negative effect that Twitter’s action had on Meerkat’s iOS app (in terms of store rank) and the boost that it gave Twitter’s Periscope.



Meerkat v Periscope iOS apps


Fast forward to today. Until the beginning of this May, Meerkat’s live-streaming app for Android was only available in a limited beta-release.


The chart below shows the immediate surge in social ranking that Meerkat received as soon it was officially available in the Google Play store on May 1st. Here you can see how app rank was affected in the Play store.


meerkat for android


Periscope clearly has an advantage here, but whether it’s a fair one is open to interpretation. Meerkat relies heavily on Twitter, and Twitter just bought their primary competitor. Meerkat might have to shake up their business model a bit to adapt to this rather awkward situation. But given that only Meerkat now offers live-streaming for Android too, for the moment they’ve regained some of their momentum.  It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of this story pans out, and if Twitter will throw any more roadblocks to keep “the little Meerkat that could” from climbing the charts.


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