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Could Meerkat Become an Essential Publisher App?

The next great publisher app might be a new streaming video service

We know, we know: It’s a stiff challenge to keep up with all of the emerging social and sharing opportunities for publishers. But one new publisher app is gaining immediate traction, and its rise dovetails nicely with a big need for any multiplatform endeavor: a push for improved video efforts.

As eMarketer reported last month, a study from Integral Ad Science based on research from the fourth quarter of 2014 shows that video ad viewability is arguably the publishing industry trend to watch. Video – especially mobile video – is the focus in 2015 for everyone from Facebook to regional magazines.

Enter Meerkat, which has the potential to become a publisher app that makes video easier for everybody (except Facebook – see below).

While BuzzFeed has already made extensive use of it, Digiday reports that Meerkat is also drawing attention from the likes of Yahoo News and CNET, universities, Gary Vaynerchuk, and such brands as Starbucks.

So, what is it, exactly?

“Meerkat is an app that allows users to conduct live broadcasts. With the touch of a button, someone can start live-streaming from their smartphone to all of their Twitter (and Meerkat) followers. The app was designed to work exclusively with Twitter. In fact, Meerkat requires users have a Twitter handle before they can use the app,” writes John McDermott.

Meerkat does not plan on working with Facebook.

“That stipulation hasn’t stopped the app from growing, however. [Meerkat CEO and Co-Founder Ben] Rubin told Digiday he listed the app on Product Hunt, a website for finding the latest and greatest in technology, on Friday, Feb. 27. By the following Friday (March 6), the app had been downloaded 30,000 times despite no paid advertising for the app, according to Rubin.

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“It started as a side project.

Meerkat is actually an offshoot of failed previous venture Yevvo, which received $4.2 million in venture capital, Rubin said. Yevvo was similar to Meerkat – it allowed users to send live broadcasts to friends or to a group of users – and netted 400,000 downloads in a year. But Rubin was disappointed by the lack of creative uses for the app and decided to debundle it into two standalone apps: Air, which would be for broadcasting to a select group of users, and Meerkat, which would be for broadcasting widely.

Rubin and his team released Meerkat in late February, and Rubin is now reconsidering whether he wants to release Air or simply focus on Meerkat.”

Meerkat doesn’t currently have a monetization model in place, making it a great time for publishers to experiment with it. Just think of the possibilities when it comes to events, webinars, interviews, and more!

While the videos expire within the app once they’re finished shooting, users can post the videos on other platforms, Digiday reports. Those users will include publishers looking to gain a multimedia edge.

Will you be one of them? Are you going to give Meerkat a spin? Have you done so already for your video experiments? Is it a viable publisher app? Let us know in the comments!

To read more about Meerkat as a potential publisher app, visit Digiday.

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