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Meerkat officially shutters its livestreaming platform, pivots to group video chat instead

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Meerkat, the brand that pioneered video livestreaming in the modern era, even before the existence of Periscope or Facebook Live, is now finally letting go and closing its platform Announcing the disheartening news on Twitter and calling it a ‘bitter sweet moment’, co-founder and CEO Ben Rubin said that the Meerkat application has officially been rescinded from the iOS App Store.

The app first gained popularity during music festival SXSW in 2015, and was the shining star that emerged last year. This massive excitement of a livestreaming video app among consumers also helped it secure a massive $14 million in venture funding. But this popularity soon phased out with the launch of rival platform Periscope. And its $100 million acquisition by Twitter only acted as a final blow for Meerkat.

But, Meerkat’s parent company Life on Air is still not giving up on its effort to work in the video space. They’re now completely diverting focus to ‘Houseparty’, a private group video chat(and hangout) application which they’ve been working in secrecy for months. The company also boasts to be closing in on about a million users.

The app allows you to join parties with upto eight people simultaneously, where the screen divides into segments to create a drop-in-drop-out style effect. And each time a new user joins the chat while other individuals are online, the app announces ‘XYZ is in the house’ — so you can queue the hoots and catcalls for them!!

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Commenting on the major upheavel in the company’s plans — to shutter Meerkat and pivot to Houseparty,  Rubin sent out an e-mail to TechCrunch saying,

We may have just pulled Meerkat from the app store, but it was actually six months after we launched that we made the decision to change direction. The category of broadcast (one-to-many) wasn’t breaking as a daily habit…it’s too far away from the everyday user.

He now believes that Houseparty, which has already spread its wings via word of mouth, is the manifestation of his vision of connecting people in the most human way — while they’re physically apart. Thus, we have our fingers crossed and are hoping for Houseparty to ultimately attain the heights that Meerkat couldn’t.


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