The State of Live Stream

One of the draws of the social media landscape has always been its ability to bridge the gaps between time and place, and facilitate interactions among people on a global scale. The advent of Facebook and Twitter ushered in an age of immediate connections. Social media messaging travels at the speed of ….well, the internet. Just as individual platforms have increased their real-time experience efficiency, the social media user’s appetite for more immediate connection has also increased. It’s no longer enough to see an image captured from an event halfway around the world seconds after it has occurred; now social media users want to feel as though they can broadcast every event in their lives as they unfold.

In 2015, Live streaming apps burst onto the scene and the social media sphere was, again, altered for good. Through live streaming, social media users are able to get as close to an event as humanly possible — without actually leaping through their screens. From concerts, championship games and, even, riots, live stream enables social media users across the globe the be a part of the action as it unfolds. The slew of apps that have emerge are true to their descriptions in that they are live; they offer raw, unedited glimpses into life and have the ability to forge the most authentic social experiences to date.

We’ve taken a look at the platforms and technologies that are paving the way in the live streaming space. In less than one year, multiple major contenders have materialized with more, undoubtedly on the way. If 2015 is any indication, live streaming are poised to define a new generation of connective experiences.

Periscope

Twitter-owner Periscope stole the show, so to speak, from Meerkat in April 2015. Seemingly overnight, Periscope had become the app of the movement. Throughout the second half of 2015 Periscope climbed in both prominence and promise. Creators with massive followings used the app to connect with audiences via intimate conversations, performances and behind-the-scenes glimpses. To launch 2016 with increasing momentum for both companies, Twitter and Periscope announce the roll-out of In-Line broadcasts in which Periscope transmits will autoplay within Twitter feeds, profiles and individual tweets, thus opening Periscope’s exposure to Twitter’s 320 million monthly active users.

 

Meerkat

Since its debut at South x Southwest 2015, Meerkat has gone from being a revolutionary, highly-touted app to the endangered species list.Many have discounted the app as another cautionary tale of an app that burned too brightly and then fizzled out. Yes, Meerkat’s prominence diminished when Periscope burst onto the scene in the Spring of 2015, but the ‘kat may not be as close to distinction as industry insiders have predicted. While Periscope, with the amplifying power of Twitter, has been focused on distribution, Meerkat has concentrated its efforts on self-improvement. From live-polling to Cameo features, the Meerkat team is striving to create the most comprehensive live streaming experience. But without visibility it will have a difficult time staying alive in 2016.

 

Facebook Live Video

On the heels of a year dominated by the market entries of Periscope and Meerkat, Facebook introduced its 139 billion mobile monthly active users  to a proprietary live streaming feature: Facebook Live Video. This mobile-only feature takes Facebook’s content sharing to the next level, allowing its users to not just share the aftermath of life events through pictures, videos and status updates, but granting them the ability to broadcast those life events as they play out. The Live Video feature also moves Facebook closer to its goal of becoming a bonafide news provider. Facebook aspires to be the go-to network for live news updates, and a real-time streaming feature legitimizes that goal.

 

Kanvas

From Huffington Post to MAKERS, AOL has revitalized its name with an enhanced focus on distinctive and quality content offerings. While the company has made incredible gains in the editorial sphere, they are still attempting to find a way to distinguish the brand on the social media playing field. In this vein, they snatched up  the teen-friendly content creation social network, Kanvas. Just months after acquisition, AOL announced  that they would be rolling out live streaming capabilities to the Kanvas platform. With stickers and playful filters, this app caters to a 2 million (and growing) user base of predominantly teens aged 13-18.

 

MeVee

Live streaming dominated the conversation at CES 2016. While livestreaming applications enjoyed a giant debut year, the fuel behind the CES buzz was a new live streaming application that is hoping to take on its predecessors. MeVee debuted at the right place and the right time as CES forums ignited interest in this newcomers — catapulting the number of MeVee live streams from a mere handful to thousands in a matter of a few days. Further boosting MeVee’s coming out party was an announcement signifying that the platform had aligned with wireless optimization network provider Signal Share. In addition to the ability to share a MeVee stream on multiple social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, what distinguishes MeVee is that it was launched with ad space. Unlike its more established competitors, MeVee is wasting no time in generating revenue through banner and video ads.

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