According to sources speaking to TechCrunch, Twitter has been quietly pushing celebrities and media companies to ditch the video-streaming service Meerkat and instead broadcast videos using its own Periscope app. Sources also told TechCrunch that Meerkat was doing the same, though the CEO of Meerkat contacted TechCrunch and denied asking anyone to use the app.
Meerkat was the buzzy app of SXSW this year, and earned praise for its design and usability. But after the launch of Twitter-owned Periscope on March 26, Meerkat’s app listing tanked (see graph below).
If the claims in TechCrunch are true, then Twitter is continuing a campaign to undercut Meerkat that it started when it abruptly revoked Meerkat’s access to Twitter’s SocialGraph, cutting the cord that let Meerkat users seamlessly send streams to their friends on Twitter (you can still manually post links to Meerkat streams in tweets, but, ugh, manually). Twitter’s aggression may have actually given Meerkat an appealing underdog vibe, says The Verge, but Twitter still has a sizable advantage: In our own (unscientific) test, Fast Company simul-streamed the same chat from both platforms, netting a peak of 18 stream viewers on Meerkat and 114 stream viewers on Periscope.
TechCrunch’s sources say Twitter is not pulling punches in privately asking celebrities to become power-user evangelists. The sources go on to say that Twitter has contacted media companies that have used Meerkat and implied that if they do not switch to exclusively using Periscope, Twitter might cut off their access to Amplify, a Twitter service that partners brands and media companies for promoted tweets, says TechCrunch.
Fast Company has reached out to Twitter for further comment and will update when we learn more.