Twitter video streaming: Move over Meerkat, it’s Periscope up!

Things can morph so quickly these days in Silicon Valley, but this development is especially dizzying in its speed:

Just as you’ve got Meerkat, the very cool live-streaming-video sharing app, going viral right out of the box, we get rumors that Twitter has bought or is buying or will buy Periscope, the yet-to-launch app for, yup, streaming video from your smartphone.

With well-sourced Alyson Shontell over at BusinessInsider weighing in on the latest rumors, we can practically see this  mash-up of startups coming down the pike like a messy car wreck:

Last month, Twitter acquired a start-up that hasn’t launched yet, Periscope, which is building an app for streaming video from your phone.

A source familiar with the deal confirmed the acquisition to Business Insider but declined to say the size or makeup of the deal (cash versus stock, or some combination of the two). This person says the deal has been 100% closed for weeks. One investor source says the acquisition amount was “sizeable,” above $50 million. Another says it fell between $75 and $100 million. A third says the deal was “small-ish.” Size is all relative, we guess.

The space is practically bulging at the seams, starting with Meerkat which has blown up on Product Hunt:

Twitter may have been hesitant to announce the deal now given a similar app, Meerkat, launched recently and it’s going viral. Meerkat lets users live stream what’s happening around them and share the link so other people can watch. Another live streaming app, YouNow, has raised money from Venrock, Union Square Ventures and other VCs, and its growth has skyrocketed in recent months.

Check out this cool breakdown of Meerkat by Air’s co-founder Ben Rubin, who calls the app “the live video button for Twitter.”

 Co-founder of Air here. I was hoping to get some feedback on this new thing we’ve been working on called Meerkat. –Meerkat’s mission is to get live streams to travel at the speed of tweets, so it’s riding the fastest news distributor network out there, Twitter.

Recently, we’ve been thinking about the wide range of news events and conversations happening around the world. Whether it’s civil rights issues being protested in Ferguson or musicians interrupting each other at an awards show, we kept wondering if we could get access to these moments in an easier way.

We wanted to give you the option to press one button and stream live video over Twitter in the most frictionless way possible. Seamlessly moving the conversation that happens on the live stream to Twitter and vice vera.

It’s a “Hands off” live streaming layer on top of Twitter, so all connections are made automatically for you on the go. You don’t need to do anything, there is no search/profiles/feed etc. As soon as you want to live stream something all your followers on Twitter will be notified that you’re going live and can start watching you and what you’re seeing.

Lastly, you can also schedule upcoming streams in the next 24 hours.

Think about it as a live video button for Twitter 🙂

Now back to the reported Periscope/Twitter thing: And remember that this supposed deal-in-the-making involves an app that’s not even, well, in existence, at least publicly.

Periscope is currently being used in closed beta and its public launch date is still being determined. The team has been busy working on the app and getting it submitted to the App Store.

So if Meerkat depends on Twitter to support its service, and Twitter may now be buying a potential competitor, what gives? And how much credit can we actually give this claim that Twitter’s got its eyes on Periscope? My colleague Queenie Wong tried to find out and got this reply from a Twitter spokeswoman:

“We don’t comment on rumor and speculation.”

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

 

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