@nickhirst and I share a regular Admap column which focuses on new technology that marketeers should get their heads round. This June - the column unpicks live video streaming.
In 2007 Twitter took SXSW by storm and began its phenomenal growth to become one of the top ten global social platforms. So it felt right that at SXSW 2015 Meerkat should be the start-up of the moment and steal the show. Meerkat is a live streaming app which, at SXSW, enabled you to live stream video impromptu sessions through Twitter. SXSW-ers started to live stream talks and BBQ and brands also experimented with Mastercard quickly becoming a top 50 publisher. Meerkat looked set to hit the global top 10.
But at the press of a button the world can change dramatically and moments after SXSW ended Twitter blocked Meerkat from accessing its social graph killing Meerkat’s distribution vehicle. Rumours were quickly rife that Twitter had plans for their own app and 9 days after SXSW they launched Periscope. Periscope is fundamentally the same as Meerkat but is Twitter approved and today Periscope users outnumber Meerkat. Yet this battle looks set to continue as Meerkat went live on Android first and has been hinting heavily at a Facebook deal.
All very exciting – but what are the implications for brands? Let’s start with the challenges. With Periscope and Meerkat anyone can live stream anything – which if you are attempting to maintain exclusive (pay per view) broadcasting rights is a problem. Which probably explains why the National Hockey League has banned both apps, Major League Baseball are threatening to do so and Top Rank Boxing claimed to be robbed every time someone live streamed the Mayweather fight. Which totally misses the point – neither apps can compete with broadcast quality and they have never aimed to. Live streaming won’t go away – so brands should start to build a model where live streaming and broadcasting can co-exist.
And the opportunities. Any brand can now be a broadcaster immediately, for free. Live stream events, behind the scenes of product releases, Q&As, interviews..ad infinitum. And many brands are already making use of live streaming. Mashable seem to Periscope pretty much on the hour every hour, Jamie Oliver is a regular to sharing kitchen scenes, DKNY and Marc Jacobs have given sneak closet peeks and Arnie Schwarzenegger amusingly used Periscope to enable people to request quotes.
With no barrier to entry there is no reason not to experiment with live streaming. But do follow one golden rule – ensure what you live stream is of note, don’t fall guilty of doing it just because you can.