Live-Streaming, Millennials and the Future

Whether Twitter’s Periscope is a Meerkat killer is irrelevant now. Live-streaming mobile apps are making waves, and we are just moving into high tide. These apps allow you to watch and comment on live-broadcastings and have everyone from celebrities to politicians diving in.

Let’s take a look at who may be using these apps and where marketers are seeing opportunities. Not long has passed since South by Southwest (when Meerkat was launched), but many see live streaming as a content experience too shiny to pass up on.

HBO and Red Bull are some of the first brands jumping in, as many of their younger followers are trend seekers, but publishers did not want to be left behind. Huffington Post and USA Today are a couple of the early birds. The main reason why big name brands may still be hesitant is the lack of ways to moderate comments and weed out spam. But pop stars like Katy Perry, the most-followed Twitter user, are not afraid and advise to “embrace the future or be left behind.” Meerkat co-founders Ben Rubin and Itai Danino explain why these apps have become so popular so quickly in an essay for Medium: “Live video over social graphs generate new emotions and feelings that are different from those on existing social networks. Feelings like drama, anticipation, uncertainty, unpredictability, presence and empowerment to change are new.”

Fans, especially millennials and younger, are naturally social and big sharers. Picture them on concert day and you’ll see just how much they want their friends and families to be a part of their experiences by instantly sharing them via every social platform imaginable. Thankfully for KatyCats, some artists don’t mind that their big performances are being broadcasted to outsiders via Periscope and Meerkat. When asked by Mashable about the app usage, Perry replied, “I think that when you see a phone, that is like the new applause.” Now, fans are sharing their concert experience from their perspective, seeing viewer comments instantly and even saving footage. Perry used Periscope at a screening in Los Angeles, promoting a live stream on Twitter during the red carpet using the #Perryscope hashtag. Teen idol and Dallas native, Nick Jonas, and Hilton hotels teamed up to stream his intimate set for the brand’s Hilton@PLAY campaign from the Hilton Anatole here in Dallas using Periscope. Start getting used to seeing brands and artists promoting live-streamed performances for mobile.

Don’t worry—retailers are also making the right moves. JCPenney recently used Periscope to host a Q&A with Eva Longoria during a new bedding collection launch. #EvaHomeJCP was the hashtag used and fans tuned in live. This is all in an effort to reach the modern Latina who Penney’s has identified as a key target, especially for sales in the home department. Aside from product launches and Q&As, many other retailers like Puma, Marc Jacobs and DKNY found that giving viewers a sneak peek of their closets could be a safe way to test the waters. “Doing anything ‘live’ always comes with its risks… but that also forces your brand to be a bit more scrappy – which I believe the customers appreciate – and makes for more authentic content,” shared Sean Ryan director of social and mobile marketing at JCPenney.

If cars are more your thing, did you see the four new cars unveiled on Meerkat and Periscope at New York’s auto show? Jaguar, Toyota, Mercedes and Nissan are all in the live-streaming race. For smart car USA, Meerkat made more sense since according to Eric Angeloro, smart’s brand management supervisor, “it was a disruptive pioneer for social live-streaming, just like we have been for smart cars.” Jaguar and Nissan sided with Twitter-owned Periscope, while Toyota toyed with both apps.

Straight from Meerkat: “We are all about reinventing shared experiences – as honest and direct as it gets.” Are you ready to ride the new waves?