It’s all over for Meerkat: Video streaming of news and events via social media is NOT the way to engage customers

After a $12 million round of funding at outset, and a year and a half on the market, it’s all over for Meerkat, demonstrating that ancillary apps for streaming live news and content to retail customers is not always profitable

Recently, many of those who study the future requirements of customers in retail FX had pinned their hopes on the latest generation of young people to have reached independent adulthood.

These ‘Millennials’ have begun to be the focus of the research and marketing departments of many firms, as they are young and may potentially begin to look toward alternative and lucrative investment strategies such as retail FX and multi-asset trading via retail platforms, with the conclusion being that such a demographic, having been born into a technological age, will require innovative and advanced ancillary services in addition to their trading platforms in order to engage and educate on a real time basis.

Just last month, FinanceFeeds explained in detail why angling services toward Millennials is expensive and fruitless, concluding that 26% of 18 to 30 year olds do not save or invest anything at all, with 62% admitting that they are clueless about financial matters, whereas the age range between 30 and 45 are investment savvy whilst being a lot less interested in gimmicky add-ons which cost a fortune to develop and do not ultimately regain the capital outlay in customer volume.

This week we are beginning to see the proof of this in the cold, harsh reality as Meerkat, a service that was launched only a year and a half ago and allowed firms to stream live video and “Tweet” (via Twitter) their customers has bitten the dust.

From a trading perspective, Meerkat appeared to be a great fit indeed. Before its launch, broadcasting live events wasn’t easy. There is a great importance with regard to the ability to broadcast in real time, and Meerkat opened up new avenues for user-generated news analysts and marketers. The fact that BBC jumped on the bandwagon by “Meerkasting” (the official term) updates on the Ferguson protests and vigil, was a sign of the app’s journalistic power – ideal for savvy Millennials to get absolutely minute-precise market information.

This information could be streamed directly to mobile devices, matching the expectation of engagement and interaction that marketers understand Millennials to expect, however this still was not enough for Meerkat.

On Friday, Meerkat bit the dust.

It was removed from the iOS AppStore with CEO Ben Rubin having broken the news saying it was a ‘bittersweet’ moment.

The company which owns Meerkat will now completely discontinue Meerkat, and focus on a new platform called Houseparty which is designed to facilitate hangouts in private instead of public. This has amassed 1 million new users, yet again testifying that the vast majority of the younger social media-orentated and multimedia-interested generation of Millennials are more interested in facilitating events and showcasing themselves and their prowess whether commercial or social than they are in aggregating news and company information for the purposes of trading.

Life On Air, the company that owns Meerkat had a $12 million venture capital round to fund its development and launch, yet it still only lasted a year and a half, proving that investment in mobile-first engagement gimmicks is not always the way to attract and maintain customers – or at least customers that will generate profitable business without requiring such high costs.

Twitter cut off access to Meerkat’s social graph shortly thereafter, making it more difficult to build out a list of friends on Meerkat, before launching its own live-streaming competitor called Periscope. Facebook too joined the game last year and has since poured immense resources into its live video efforts, yet again showing that live video streaming is of social interest to younger people, and not commercial interest.

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