It’s official: Meerkat has lost the live-streaming battle to Periscope

Say it ain’t so.
Say it ain’t so.
Image: AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Patrick Straub
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Meerkat—the live video-streaming app that was the buzz of SXSW last year—is admitting defeat against rival Periscope.

Recode reported yesterday (March 4) that the startup is changing direction to become a video social network where “everyone is always live.”

“It was a fucking hard decision to say, ‘It’s not going to work, thank you everyone for the support,’”Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin told the website. In an email to investors two weeks ago, Rubin said the startup simply wasn’t able to grow as quickly as expected, especially with competition from Twitter, which acquired Periscope before it launched last year, and Facebook, according to Recode.

It’s true: Meerkat didn’t have much of a chance once Periscope came into the picture. As of yesterday, Periscope was ranked eighth on iOS and 12th on Android in the social app category compared with Meerkat’s 368th and 430th respective ranks, according to data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Meerkat launched on iOS in February 2015 and followed up with an Android app two weeks later. Though it had a head start over Periscope—which released its iOS app at the end of March and and its Android version in May—Meerkat never gained the same traction, peaking at No. 21 on iOS and 27 on Android in the social app category.

In contrast, Periscope came out the gate March 27 as the eighth most popular app that day. It would go on to hit No. 4 on iOS and 6 on Android in the social app category. Being part of the Twitter family is undoubtedly a huge boost, helping Periscope expand its reach to Twitter’s 305 million monthly active users.