Popular livestreaming app Meerkat has nearly two million users, Meerkat founder Ben Rubin revealed onstage Wednesday at TechCrunch Disrupt.
When it initially launched, Meerkat was responsible for sparking a renewed interest in live video broadcasting apps, and it managed to attract 160,000 users in its first month. But after Twitter acquired Meerkat competitor Periscope and shut off Meerkat’s ability to tap into Twitter’s social features, it quickly became clear that Periscope represented a very real threat — especially when Periscope managed to top 1 million users in its first 10 days.
Without the ability for Meerkat users to quickly connect with their Twitter followers, it was now far more difficult for new Meerkat users to find their friends and gain new followers.
Rubin talked about what it was like the day he found out that Twitter was shutting off Meerkat’s access to its social graph to help pave the way for Periscope’s success, revealing that he only had two hours’ notice, which he said simply “sucked.”
“You get this call and they say ‘Hey, we really like the product but… by the rules you cannot use the graph in a competitive way and we just launched Periscope in a beta and we’re going to close it’,” Rubin told the crowd, according to TechCrunch. “It was Saturday — all the team went back to the office to get ready to die.
It was Saturday — all the team went back to the office to get ready to die.
Even with the heavy competition from Twitter’s Periscope app, Rubin said he still believes the livestreaming space is big enough for multiple players, mentioning that “it would be hilarious to say Twitter cannot exist because you post statuses on your Facebook.”
From an engagement standpoint, it’s quickly become clear that Periscope consistently sees more tweets per day linking to live broadcasts, according to social media analytics firm Topsy, but both apps have seen their download rank in the App Store fall since launching.
Meerkat did manage to launch on Android before Periscope, beating Twitter to the punch, but it will still remain unclear if the influx of Android users was able to close the gap between the two rival livestreaming apps until Twitter reveals updated download numbers for Periscope.
You can read our earlier interview with Ben Rubin shortly after he launched Meerkat by clicking here.