When Twitter launched its its new live-streaming video app Periscope on Thursday — the same day that its rival Meerkat announced $14 million in new funding — tech journos immediately scrambled to size the two up head-to-head, for both consumers and journalists hoping to use the apps to enhance their news coverage. And so far, a large number of reviews are strongly leaning in Periscope’s favor.
Many reviewers cited numerous advantages Periscope has over Meerkat — advantages that could prove decisive. Whereas Meerkat’s streams vanish from the your network of followers once the user stops recording, Periscope automatically saves streams for your followers for almost 24 hours, offering viewers who didn’t stumble upon the clip as it was being shot a chance to watch it even if they’ve only heard about the piece a few hours after the stream was live. In addition, Twitter has blocked new Meerkat users from seeing which of their followers also use Meerkat, which means that you have to do more work to find Meerkat clips, while Periscope is much more integrated into Twitter. Finally, Periscope is simply more intuitive. Here’s a sampling of the peanut gallery:
- Yahoo Tech’s Alyssa Bereznak: “Meekat got onto the scene first. But Periscope is a much more thought-out product.”
- Re/code’s Kurt Wagner: “Which app lets you reach the people you care about most? In the long run, I believe Periscope has an advantage here.”
- The Telegraph’s Rhiannon Williams: “Periscope currently offers more features and a much wider selection of streams to dip in and out of, but competition will only truly kick off one both apps are extended to Android.”
- Engadget’s Nicole Lee: “As far as livestreaming apps go, and there aren’t very many so far, it’s certainly the best I’ve seen.”
- Time magazine’s John Patrick Pullen is more ambivalent but asks at the end: “The question is, can Meerkat swim?”
Over at journalism.co.uk, Alastair Reid compared the apps specifically with journalists in mind and concluded that Periscope’s geolocation feature — which Meerkat does not currently offer — will be particularly useful for reporters, “letting newsrooms search for streams around news events anywhere in the world.”
In fact, Periscope’s sudden success has led Tero Kuittinen, a managing director at the consulting firm Magid Associates, to pen an essay at the tech news website BGR indicting the tech press for swooning over Meerkat so easily. Noting that Periscope became one of the top 30 most downloaded apps for the iPhone by Friday night, while Meerkat’s rank has collapsed to 523 by Sunday, Kuittinen argues that most tech journalists — particularly when it comes to mobile apps — are poisoned by a bias for buzz over utility and an ignorance how the app industry actually works.
Meerkat’s “success” was the creation of a handful of West Coast tech bloggers who managed to lure major newspapers into covering a phenomenon that did not exist. … In the United States, app industry reporters can simply choose to cover an app their buddies claim is cool and then prioritize the 200th most popular app in the country over apps that have actual heft and significance.