Meerkat is switching from live video streaming to video social network after facing intense competition from the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
The app was released for iOS and Android in February 2015 and was applauded in the tech industry; however, it could not sustain the momentum. Ben Rubin, the CEO of Meerkat, confirmed the turn of events in a company blog.
Rubin says that Meerkat users are not just livestreaming in the numbers the company initially expected. Moreover, people who are livestreaming are choosing other networks such as Facebook Live and Periscope.
"Over the year, it became rougher waters - mobile broadcast video hasn't quite exploded as quickly as we'd hoped. The distribution advantages of Twitter/Periscope and Facebook Live drew more early users to them away from us and we were not able to grow as quickly alongside as we had planned," says Rubin.
Both Facebook and Twitter have put significant resources to live video products. Huge existing user base has helped Facebook and Twitter in reaching out to already established customers. However, Meerkat had to build a network of user from scratch.
Facebook initially opened live video broadcasting to celebrities in July 2015. The service was opened to regular users in January 2016 and more than 31,000 customers have already used the service for creating about 246,000 livestreams. All these livestreams have also resulted in more than 5.7 billion views.
Twitter launched Periscope in March 2015. The app has gained a lot of popularity and Periscope streams also appear on Twitter's timeline.
Rubin's latest announcement takes Meerkat out of the race, with his decision also highlights the challenges in the livestreaming space.
Meerkat has raised about $12 million of funds from investors; however, 75 percent of the entire money is still available in the company. Rubin did not disclose the app's future plans but he hinted that the company will focus on interactions between smaller groups such as people who know each other. Rubin says that the company should unveil something new in the next few months.
The Meerkat app is currently available as a free app from Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Android users who want to try the app will need a device running on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or above and the download file weighs 38 MB.
Apple device users require iOS 8.0 or later to run the Meerkat app and it is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The download file weighs 38.5 MB.