This morning saw dueling announcements in the world of live-streaming apps. Twitter finally pushed Periscope to the public, and Meerkat announced it had raised a pile of cash with strong connections to Hollywood. Right now Meerkat has the hype, coming off a strong SXSW and high-profile celebrity users like Jimmy Fallon. At the same time, Meerkat relies heavily on Twitter for its distribution. That puts it in a perilous position, something we saw at work when Twitter cut off Meerkat's access to its social graph.
Part of the Meerkat money, $14 million, comes from traditional tech players like Greylock, Comcast Ventures, and other Silicon Valley investors. But the list also includes Ashton Kutcher, Lorne Michaels' BroadWay Video Ventures, and talent agencies like William Morris Endeavor and CAA. Twitter reportedly paid $100 million for Periscope before it had even launched.
Over the last two weeks Meerkat has shot up the iOS app stores charts. Analytics firm App Annie shows it's moving from number 500 in the social category and under number 1,000 overall, to number 22 in the social category and 160 overall. Neither service is available yet on Android.
One key difference between the two services for now is that Periscope allows users to archive their broadcasts for replay when they are done. In our review we found this to be its killer feature, removing the somewhat overwhelming urgency of needing to tune in to every live stream that sends along a push notification.