Spring of 2015 now goes down in tech history as the advent of “lifestreaming,” or livestreaming daily activity through mobile devices. Meerkat launched in February, and as the official app of SXSW Interactive, quickly became the new social magnet, attracting brands, digital strategists, and early adopters alike. A few weeks later, in March, new-to-market Periscope was dominating downloads. The one-year-old startup, which was purchased in January by Twitter in an effort to fight its decline in user acquisition, became the biggest competitor to Meerkat overnight.
Since then, the two live streaming apps have been competing for a very similar user base. Product nuances aside, the rise of live streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat present unique opportunities for brand integration, influencer access, and social media campaigns. Each platform allows users to create a profile and livestream whatever they want—whether it’s a monologue, a brainstorm, a band practice, or a cultural outing. Pardon the pun, but the possibilities are virtually endless. People watching the broadcast with the app are able to engage in real time: commenting on live broadcasts, asking questions, and liking the content itself. You can replay broadcasts for up to 24-hours and you can see how many people watched your “lifestream.” It’s engaging and honest and weird—all of the things you’d expect from an app that promotes such an intimate user experience.
With help from Twitter, it would appear Periscope is leading the app pack in both downloads and usage. According to Forbes, Periscope currently sees 40 years of content viewed on it everyday, with fashion reportedly one of the most popular subjects. While consumer fashion brands like Target have used Persicope to educate shoppers about its collaboration with Lilly Pulitzer, all eyes are currently on the access livestreaming provides to fashion’s most elite events. Enter NYFW.
As the fashion world and street style aficionados sprawled across the city this past week, the rest of world enjoyed unprecedented access to the bi-annual event that used to be exclusive to the fashion hierarchy. Editors and bloggers are streaming their experiences from various runway shows, while Twitter refers to the Periscope Fashion Week Phenomenon as #FashionUnfiltered. Marc Jacobs famously used the app to showcase his resort 2016 collection complete with a live Q+A post-show in June, and now, for the first time ever, the platform is partnering with Ralph Lauren to livestream the show to the platform’s 10 million users. This is a shameless (and unsolicited plug!) to tune in for the Ralph Lauren show on September 17th at 10am EDT. This is a fashion first, and will surely prompt more creative hacks for the fashion industry to provide consumer access.
Livestreaming isn’t a new concept, but making it mobile-friendly provides an unprecedented and global accessibility to major events. NYFW is only one example of how livestreaming apps, and the “lifestreaming” social trend, will shape the future of social sharing and the definition of “behind the scenes.” Editorial platforms like Refinery29 have launched dedicated Periscope shows (“In Bed with R29!”), while prominent food bloggers like @MyHealthyDish_ are leading cooking tutorials. It’s the wild west of video, and anyone with a smartphone can saddle up.
Dana Kelly is a content strategist by trade and subscribes to the notion that life, lifestyle, and the left coast are what matter most. The California native spends most of her days at Mistress, and has a deep love for words, wine, and great in-flight entertainment.