Nearly a year after making a huge splash at SXSW, live-streaming app Meerkat is refocusing and changing up its business model, partly due to competition from Periscope and Facebook Live, the company has announced. As was first reported by Re/code and later confirmed in a post from Meerkat CEO and Founder Ben Rubin, the company is going in a new direction.
“Mobile broadcast video hasn’t quite exploded as quickly as we’d hoped,” Rubin wrote. “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.”
So, the company started building a new product in October, which it hopes will set it apart from competitors. Rubin hasn’t offered too many details about the new product, but told Re/code it’s a social network “where ‘everybody is live,'” the site reported, adding that it “sounds more akin to Google Hangouts or Skype, with a priority on smaller, group video chats with people you know versus strangers tuning in.”
In his post, Rubin said the new product is focused on connecting people who know each other either in-person or online.
“The best Meerkat moments happened when people who knew each other came together live and interacted in real-time,” Rubin wrote. “We saw this in the conversations when the threads would go on and on and on. We especially saw this in cameo when broadcasters were able to see their audience and interact in a more human way, people passed around the camera for a campfire chat session. And we saw many of these groups have the best repeat behavior of anyone.”
At this time, Meerkat as we know it is still running. Rubin said the company plans to monitor the network for anything that begins to draw new attention. “Change is never easy,” Rubin acknowledged. “We’ve been humbled by the attention we’ve received so far, and honored to have you along for this wild ride. We hope you’ll continue to be a part of the Colony, no matter what shape it takes.”
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