Livestreaming via smartphones has seen a spark in interest with newly minted apps like Twitter's Periscope and Meerkat, but the battle of the livestreaming apps is far from over. To wit: Meet ANGL, which is well ahead of both Periscope and Meerkat on features and gives us a glimpse of what's to come.
Artklikk, a mobile app development company in Budapest, Hungary, released the livestreaming app in February 2014. Now in its fifth version, the app has many of the features active Periscope users have been requesting. For example, live streams are easily shareable for creators and viewers on Facebook and Twitter. The app has both an iOS and Android version -- something Periscope still has in beta. There’s also an embeddable Web player, so users can share their content for viewing on other websites.
One standout section has streams viewable in a map (map-based browsing is expected to come to Periscope soon, its CEO told TechCrunch earlier this month). Yet, like Periscope, ANGL faced criticism from users who did not want their exact location to be broadcast. ANGL’s Android version now lets users remove the location completely or limit it to a city and state.
An interesting point of difference is how long video streams are publicly available. While videos can be viewed on Periscope for 24 hours and Meerkat videos are visible on the app only while live, ANGL recordings are available based on engagement. Each stream is immediately made available for 30 minutes, and then a counter ticks down. But then other users can vote to have the video survive, indefinitely. This “ECHO” system is patented and something that the CEO described as “content Darwinism.”
So who’s on ANGL? In its U.S. entry, the company paid for little marketing other than reaching out to some Vine, Snapchat and YouTube creators. The app is 60 percent women. “ANGL has been most popular with women aged 25-40, many of whom are married with children and living in suburban areas,” CEO Andras Kovecs wrote in an email.
Content ranges from 30-second videos to 90-minute question and answers. Many of the users broadcast their lives, greeting the community in the morning. There have also been user-run community activities, including "Lip Sync Battle Wednesdays." The app's company will make mash-ups of the best content.
“We think the user interface seems to be driving people to put themselves at the forefront of the app," Kovecs wrote. "Faces are becoming the visual cue to click into streams, putting an emphasis on the person and not the topic.”
So far, the app has 10,000 downloads and 1,000 returns once a week. Periscope hit 1 million downloads within the first 10 days but has yet to reveal continued activity. Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin has said the app has 2 million users and has also left out other statistics.
Despite suspected waning engagement, Periscope, backed by Twitter and Meerkat, is supported by $18 million in venture capital funding. ANGL has the backing of Artklikk, a privately owned company that has generated between $800,000 to $1 million in revenue for the past three years.
As for expanding ANGL, the company is evidently expanding its marketing and reaching out to more creators. “Our users really like the close-knit feeling of the community, and we don’t want to lose that as the app grows,” Kovecs wrote.