The free application called Meerkat has become a virtual overnight sensation since its low-key arrival on Apple’s online App Store late last month, winning over journalists, politicians, self-anointed pundits, social media celebrities and others.
Meerkat integrates with Twitter, allowing users of the messaging platform to launch live video streams with a single touch of an on-screen button.
In the rapid-fire Twitterverse, Meerkat has become a sudden hit with tens of thousands of users trying it.
Meerkat “marries the wide potential of live streaming with the instant and social strengths of Twitter. Two great tastes that go so well together,” wrote Hawaii-based consultant and blogger Ryan Ozawa.
“Imagine the applications for breaking news. Imagine deploying Meerkat at an event, with broadcasters and viewers easily interacting throughout. I could easily see myself falling head over heels in love with Meerkat.”
The news blog TechCrunch described Meerkat as “the live streaming app Twitter should have built.”
Twitter appears to have taken notice.
The one-to-many messaging platform announced Friday (March 13) that it was buying the maker of a rival video streaming app called Periscope, which is in beta testing and has not yet been released to the public.
“Excited to officially welcome @periscopeco to the Twitter team. Can’t wait for everyone to see what they’ve built!” Twitter product vice president Kevin Weil tweeted on Friday.
Twitter did not release details about the deal, but media reports said Twitter was paying between $50 million and $100 million for the app, which has so far been available by invitation only.
Additionally, Buzzfeed.com reported that Twitter was cutting Meerkat’s access to some of its features.
It was not immediately clear whether Twitter would maintain Periscope as an independent app or integrate it into the platform.