Meerkat, the livestreaming app that took SXSW by storm in 2015, is officially dead.
Pronounced so by Ben Rubin, co-founder of Life on Air (the company behind Meerkat), the app has been removed from both Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Meerkat’s concept – live video streaming from a user’s smartphone to a limitless audience – was one that initially wowed the tech community but the app was soon overshadowed by the financial clout of the Twitter-backed Periscope and Facebook’s livestreaming.
While the service was backed by celebrities like Madonna, Ashton Kutcher and Rio Ferdinand, interest soon fizzled out and before long it was playing third fiddle to Periscope and Facebook.
It was not a surprise then when it was revealed to The Verge last week that Meerkat had secretly been the developer behind the emerging video chat app Houseparty. The app currently has almost 1 million active users. With Periscope and Facebook having a vice grip on mobile broadcasting, it seems like a logical move for Meerkat to move into a more unique market.
In a statement made to TechCrunch, Rubin said:
We may have just pulled Meerkat from the app store, but it was actually six months after we launched that we made the decision to change direction. The category of broadcast (one-to-many) wasn’t breaking as a daily habit…it’s too far away from the everyday user.
The mission of our company has always been to connect people in the most human way possible while physically apart. Not only do we believe that Houseparty is a better manifestation of that vision, but also the market has shown us that too…spreading the app simply by word of mouth.
It might not have worked out for the company in the long run, but it is unlikely that the huge trend of mobile broadcasting would have ever emerged without the massive amount of buzz that surrounded Meerkat when it emerged a couple of years ago. Hopefully this new platform will prove to be more fruitful for the company in the long term.