The iPhone apps Meerkat and Periscope aren’t the first to bring live mobile video streaming to smartphones, but their launch has made the medium “interesting again,” says a media prof.
“We’ve had webcams and the voyeuristic pleasure that goes along with that since the ’90s,” says Sidneyeve Matrix, an associate professor of media at Queen’s University, specializing in digital culture.
“What’s really fantastic about these two new apps is it’s about webcams that move. It’s about seeing the world through someone else’s eyes,” she says.
Meerkat, which launched in late February, and Periscope, which arrived in late March, have two things previous live video streaming apps don’t: buzz and big financial backers.
Periscope was bought by Twitter months before it even launched at the end of March, reportedly for $100 million. Meerkat, meanwhile, recently raised $12 million on its own, with investors putting its value at $40 million.