Meerkat removed from App Store

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Not many people were aware that Meerkat, the live-streaming video service was finally laid to rest about a month ago when it was pulled out of the App Store, Apple’s equivalent of the Play Store.

Meerkat removed from App Store

The announcement to that effect was made by the CEO of Life On Air, Ben Rubin on Twitter. In case your are wondering what Life on Air had to do with the dead of Meerkat, they are the makers of the app.

It was at this announcement that Mr Rubin officially unveiled Houseparty to the public. Another video app, with the difference that it is a private, chat-only app. According to him, Houseparty already had about 1 million users.

One could easily tracked the dead of Meerkat and the formation of Houseparty back to the time Facebook Live was launched. Though there is the contention that it was the combination of Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live that lead to the eventual dead of Meerkat and creation of Houseparty.

Meerkat removed from App Store
Ben Rubin, CEO of doomed Meerkat

In the case of Houseparty, it was created about the time Facebook Live was launched by Facebook at the beginning of the year. One could say Life On Air saw the light at the end of the tunnel; a light that meant an oncoming train in the shape of Facebook Live that was about to crush Meerkat.

So Houseparty was launched as an Android and iOS app so as not to be in direct competition with the dominant Facebook Live and Periscope.

As for the slow dead of Meerkat, that started officially in March of this year (again, shortly after the launch of Facebook Live)  when the company send an email to employees that they are shutting down Meerkat.

The sad news that came with that email took many by surprise. Meerkat, was the toast of everybody when it launched almost exactly a year to that email announcement signalling the end of Meerkat.

Ben Rubin, CEO of doomed Meerkat
Houseparty app, Ben Rubin’s new video chat app

As the pioneer in the video live-streaming niche, it came with a lot of promise and was set to rule that niche as one of major players in the Live-streaming niche.

And the fact it was launched at the yearly South by Southwest festival (SXSW Festival) gave it the kind of publicity only a few new apps can ever dream of getting. At the festival, it was branded as the new face of modern live-streaming. To put it mildly, Meerkat was launched with a bang. That was why it was easy for the suits at Meerkat to  raise 12 million dollars in seed funding to further expand the scope of the business.

But then came the first blow soon after. Twitter cut off access to the app. This was telling in the sense that it became difficult for people to connect with friends on Meerkat. I guess it was a fatal mistake for Meerkat to link it’s ability to attract users with Twitter.

Well Twitter blocked access. And shortly after, Twitter launched its own live streaming service, Periscope.

And when Facebook too joined live-streaming, it was hard to imagine Meerkat surviving between two big rival services. It is even hard enough for Periscope to survive against Facebook Live.

Ben Rubin, CEO of doomed Meerkat
Facebook Live and Periscope; the two dominant video live streaming services

Facebook Live had become so dominant in the industry that nobody bothered much when Meerkat was finally pulled from the App store.

So as far as Live-streaming is concerned, the world is tilting towards dominance by two players; Facebook Live and YouTube that also launched a somewhat sophisticated version of video live streaming this year.

As for Periscope, just like the parent company Twitter, they are still hanging in there grimly. Defying the odds and confounding critics who believe the end would soon cone for them too.

The message from the dead of Meerkat is very loud and clear; it would be almost impossible for small independent apps to survive in the new world order.

To survive in any lucrative niche, you’d need to have endless supply of funds and stamina to match the resources of the big firms that are determined to stick their fingers in all profitable pies.


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