People are live streaming everything.

Meerkat and Periscope are the two sole players in the live streaming battle. Even though Periscope is not the first live streaming app, it dominated the market and destroyed its predecessor, Meerkat, overnight.

What did Periscope do to give Meerkat its reality check?


How the Story Begins

Twitter presented a challenge: Periscope, which is also an app designed for live streaming.

When users post their streams on Twitter, their tweet will include a hashtag of the app they used. For example, LIVE ON #Periscope or |LIVE NOW| #meerkat. Below are the number of tweets each app was receiving:

topsy results


periscope broadcast


Why Periscope?

1. Periscope doesn’t have as many bugs:

Live streaming can be buggy. Between a poor internet connection or internal hardware issues, a lot of things can go wrong. However most users reported Periscope has less glitches. If I was watching a live stream of Taylor Swift singing “Blank Space”, that 10 second delay matters.

2. Periscope has a cleaner design

Periscope interface

On the left is Periscope’s interface and right is Meerkat’s interface

Periscope has a simpler interface, allowing users see the whole stream without severe interruptions. On Meerkat’s interface, all viewers are shown on top along with their comments, which unnecessarily seizes ⅓ of the screen .

3. Periscope saves your streams and lets you replay them later.

Meerkat doesn’t support the ability to replay streams. I only check my social media in the morning and at the end of the day. This means I miss all of my friend’s streams.

I’ve been in this situation way too many times:

“Hey did you see that stream about a guy pouring an ice bucket on himself an hour ago? OMG that’s what everyone’s been talking about!”


However, having an efficient app isn’t enough. Nowadays, it’s easy for any company to build a clone of your app. There will always be someone out there who can build it better. A company cannot solely rely on their product alone to succeed.


What comes before technology?

Good strategy has to come first. Great products with poor strategies can’t win.

1. Use your privilege (even if that means being “the bad guy”):

Both apps heavily rely on Twitter. When Twitter acquired Periscope, the product was given greater access to resources, especially users’ data and location. Periscope notifies Twitter users when a stream begins and shows where a person is streaming from.

2. Leverage, don’t imitate

Periscope delivers a unique experience, which is a better strategy than Meerkat trying to mimic the real broadcaster’s experience. Meerkat users are not allowed to re-watch broadcasts. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. However, Periscope leverages the broadcaster’s experience by letting users re-watch and receive immediate feedback through ratings and comments.

Periscope allows users to send hearts at any time during streaming. It gives out that immediate satisfaction return when you can see your stream flooded with hearts. Furthermore, if there’s a part in the stream the audience likes, you can immediately know by seeing hearts flying around and observe what kind of content people are interested in, especially for social media specialists/twitters.

I would “heart” this 1000 times:

Kitty in marshmallows
500 for the cat and 500 for marshmallows

What the Media Cares About

The chart below displays the popularity between Periscope (red) and Meerkat (blue):

Periscope VS. Meerkat

Meerkat was still able to keep up with news coverage when Twitter released Periscope at first. However, this wasn’t because of their product…

Periscope VS. Meerkat Search Results

When people mentioned Meerkat, they also talk about Periscope and vice versa. The media isn’t actually interested in either product, but rather the rivalry between the two.


Periscope is currently winning the live streaming battle. All it took was a polished app and a good strategy: restrict data access to competitor and leverage experience.

What are your thoughts on Periscope and Meerkat? I would love to hear them in the comments below. You can also send a tweet/ send a message to me at @anhthu_le179