To many marketers, launching an app at South by Southwest (SXSW) is risky. In fact, many PR and marketing professionals strongly advise against launching at this conference. Standing out from your competition and the general marketing chaos in a conference with over 6,000 events and 30,000+ attendees is challenging, but the rewards are high – for example, Twitter had a very successful launch at SXSW in 2007. Reporters – and many apps’ target demos – are all gathered in Austin at the same time making it the optimal place for your mobile app to ‘explode’, if you’re able to rise above the hundreds of other promotional emails, street teams and events. This year, live streaming apps dominated the buzz.
Meerkat, an app that allows Twitter users to tweet out live streams and enables viewers to chat with one another, was all the buzz during SXSW Interactive and has been deemed the break-out app from the conference. Attendees, panelists, and seemingly the city of Austin were talking about it, and many were ‘Meerkating’. Al Roker even got it on the action. Meerkat had been gaining momentum prior to SXSW with its official launch at the beginning of March, but it was the talk of the town in Austin this past week.
According to an interview of CNN’s Sarah O’Brien conducted by digital analyst Brian Solis,
Meerkat introduces a new way to foster engagement in social communities while adding a new experience layer to Twitter. At the same time, there’s been a race for years to make livestreaming an everyday form of communication. At the moment, Meerkat is definitely something celebrated by the early social media adopters and is promising for younger users as well. It’s true test will come at and immediately after SXSW. And, its performance in the near term will also be a true test for livestreaming over all.¨
On Friday afternoon, Twitter confirmed its acquisition of Periscope, a video streaming application currently in beta. There were rumors of this deal since the beginning of Meerkat’s existence, though the acquisition is said to have closed in January. While many details are not currently available about this app, according to one report, Periscope will let Twitter users view and interact with live broadcasts as well as to watch replays of videos they may have missed in real-time.
Another live streaming app that launched at SXSW was Stre.am. While Meerkat streams primarily over Twitter, Stre.am streams to a wider network, including Facebook and Google Plus. The app also allows you to shoot Vine-like stop-motion videos. Stre.am is available for Apple and Android devices. Stre.am was a finalist in SXSWs Interactive Innovation Awards in for the best new way to connect with others.
Videos on social platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter are increasingly more utilized. The ability to live stream to social networks is more than likely the Next Big Thing.