We just removed Meerkat from the AppStore, bitter sweet moment seeing it go while celebrating @houseparty
— Ben Rubin (@benrbn) September 30, 2016
The news of Meerkat’s demise will likely surprise few of those that have followed its story.
Launched first for the iPhone in early 2015, the app quickly generated lots of buzz as users enjoyed a new and easy way to launch and view live broadcasts on their smartphone.
But just when it looked like Meerkat was about to really take off, it found itself caught up in a battle with Periscope – a rival service into which owner Twitter poured all its resources.
The pressure increased on Meerkat after Twitter limited the app’s access to its social graph, a step that prevented Meerkat users from automatically linking their Twitter followers. This had the effect of slowing down Meerkat’s ability to grow via the social media service, while Periscope enjoyed increasing integration.
There was a brief glimmer of hope for Meerkat when it managed to beat Periscope to Android, but its rival joined the party just a few weeks later. And when Facebook Live launched, all hope was lost.
According to Rubin, lots of users were still viewing live-streams on Meerkat, but those streams were diminishing in number as creators left for the rival platforms.
Related: Meerkat could be on to a real winner with its new video chat app Houseparty
With Meerkat now well and truly behind it, Life On Air is focusing 100 percent on Houseparty (iOS and Android). The new social app, which already has more than a million users, lets up to eight users create or join video chat rooms, with participants able to switch between multiple rooms with a simple swipe.
It’s still too early to say if Houseparty will turn out to be another Meerkat, but Rubin and his team will have learned plenty the first time around, in the process gathering valuable experience that should give its latest effort a fighting chance.