Before SxSW of this year, Meerkats were best known for their manors, Periscopes popped up to save the Skipper and Stringwire would have made us think of our favorite character from our favorite TV show.
But now, with the introduction of Meerkat, Periscope and Stringwire, we can easily broadcast video from our phones. Lets look at the best use case for each and then settle the "should we/shouldn’t we?"
First big splash: Meerkat
When you live stream on Meerkat, a chat stream appears and scrolls upward from the bottom of your mobile device. This is fun for viewers to interact with one another and with the broadcaster. The video experience is powerful already, but the added chat feature can lead to developing stronger relationships with your followers.
The user interface is really nice: New messages coming in stay at the bottom of the screen so they don't cover too much of the video. You can also scroll backward to read any messages you missed. Finally, if the viewer chooses, then his or her chat messages are posted to Twitter as @reply messages Very powerful connecting stuff here!
Meerkat streams are ephemeral (think Snapchat) so they have a sense of urgency, immediacy and exclusiveness.
It's very likely that a brand with very engaged follower could use this interactivity and immediacy to their advantage. (I’m thinking of you, Tay-Tay…)
Next on the Scene (with a bullet): Periscope
Periscope, acquired by Twitter in January, lets users live broadcast from their mobile devices through Twitter. Your followers get a push notification and can watch your livestream. Co-founder Kayvon Beykpour told CNNMoney he envisioned the app being used in a number of scenarios: from live events and protests (think Ferguson) to more personal moments -- a baby's first steps or a pet's burial.
Periscope users can opt to share a stream publicly or only share with a select group of users. They also have the option to live broadcast within the app or on Twitter. In fact, that is Periscope’s big advantage: full access to Twitter's social graph. This makes it easier for people to connect with their friends using the service. (Meerkat initially had access but it was quickly curtailed.)
The Dark Horse (with Deep Pockets): Stringwire
In 2013, NBC bought a streaming video technology which allowed users to set up a channel, invite others to stream live to it, and manage which live stream is broadcast. (You can also hook up your Stringwire account to YouTube and livestream there.)
So what’s great use case here? Stringwire is a good platform for citizen journalists who want to capture (in HD Landscape) and curate their video for broadcast or cable news. NBC and other news outlets will be looking at Stringwire for videos to share on air - opening up a world of video as it’s needed (note: NBC does not need your permission and will not pay for your video.)
In addition, for you drone enthusiasts, Stringwire is the first streaming service available to support the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ drone, a remote-controlled aircraft. And with the latest iOS version of the app, users can now capture stunning aerial visuals with the Phantom 2 Vision+ HD-quality camera. “This is part of our ongoing commitment to advance newsgathering across all platforms.” said Mark Graham, SVP and General Manager, Stringwire.
So… To Stream? (enthusiastic) Yes!
Quant rationale: According to OOYALA’s Global Video Index, time spent watching video on mobile devices increased 160% year over year in Q4 2013. Additionally, mobile video viewers will watch an average of 21 hours per month on their devices by 2019, up from 12.7 hours in 2013.
Qual rationale: Live video streaming is here to stay, and marketers will need to get on board if they want to stay relevant. Not to mention, using live streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat can help you humanize your brand and supplement nearly any campaign. Not to mention, you can do tests / experiments without breaking the bank.