If you’re a Twitter user, you’ve probably noticed that your feed has been inundated with “Meerkats” and “Periscopes” lately. They’re the latest startups to capitalize on the experiential market, taking an older technology (live-streaming) and repackaging it as new.
Meerkat went live a week prior to the tech portion of South by SouthWest and quickly gained notoriety. It’s an iOS app that integrates with your Twitter account and broadcasts directly to your timeline, showcasing whichever live content you’re producing at the moment.
Not to be out done, however, was another live-streaming company aptly titled Stre.am. It debuted at SxSW Interactive, though with far less fanfare. Stre.am’s overshadowing can be attributed to the Meerkat hype, as well as the announcement that Twitter had purchased their own streaming company, Periscope.
It should be noted that the features at this time are a bit scarce, as each app is in its first public build, but after reviewing the core functions, it’s quite clear that PR firms will be able to extract value from these services or others forthcoming.
One feature currently present on Stre.am that is not available on either of the other services is the ability to save one’s broadcast directly to the mobile device. This capability can benefit PR pros if/when they need to review a streamed interview. It will also allow them to cut their own footage and distribute on client blogs or social channels.
In contrast, Periscope allows users to keep their stream public for 24 hours before it disappears. They also provide users the ability to privately beam a stream to one another. PR reps could then oversee one-on-one video interviews that take place between a client and a member of the media, when studio space is unavailable.
It’s easy to see the appeal in a service that allows you to beam you and your surroundings instantly to your bevy of followers. Even though it’s not a new phenomenon by any means, the fact that we can do it virtually uninterrupted and from our phones, is.
And that’s where the value of these platforms comes into play. We all know the limitations of time and travel, but with mobile streaming now set to be an integral part of our society, perhaps speaking engagements can take place without the client being present.
It’s far too early to tell whether or not the interest in streaming is sustainable, though given the growth in experiential platforms, it’s safe to assume they will be present for a long, long time. Suffice it to say, it may be in the PR pro’s best interest to adopt this technology and figure out a way to build it into their services now, rather than later.