Your Facebook feed could soon be filled with live-streaming videos. Meerkat, one of two live video streaming app that have gained popularity in recent months, introduced a new update for its iOS app that allows users to publish links to their livestreams directly to Facebook.
Previously, links to live video were only shareable on microblogging site Twitter. Meerkat’s competitor Periscope is owned by Twitter. Shortly after rolling out its own app, Twitter removed Meerkat’s access to its social graph, which limited how people could find contacts. In this recent update, Meerkat also added the ability to sync phone contacts. Another new feature allows popular streams on Meerkat to be featured on the app’s main feed in a way for general users to more easily find new content to watch.
Each of these changes diversifies Meerkat from competitor Periscope. With Periscope being Twitter-owned company while Meerkat is an independent startup, it has been feared that the smaller app would fail. Indeed, the numbers have repeatedly shown that users are more engaged by Periscope. On a recent conference call with investors, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said that Periscope had over 1 million sign-ins within the first 10 days of launch. The company has not disclosed how many active users are currently using the app, and neither has Meerkat.
Meerkat did raise $14 million in funding in a seed round led by Greylock Ventures. Other investors included Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michael’s Broadway Video Ventures and talent agencies William Morris Endeavor, CAA and United Talent Agency. But the question remains whether the startup can continue to compete with Twitter on its own.
One Silicon Valley insider Jason Calacanis, CEO of Weblog, told CNBC last week that he believed Facebook would buy Meerkat within the next six months. Facebook does not currently have its own livestreaming app or functions built within the social network. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the company will increasingly focus on video. Facebook released a standalone video-sharing app called Riff, akin to Snapchat and Twitter-owned Vine, last month, and also added an embeddable video player.