Blab is dead. I’m sad. It was an amazing platform that got a lot of immediate attention. Super stars like Grant Cardone took to the airways and it was a way to pop-in and connect with iinfluencers and creators.
So Blab is dead. So is Katch.me, who closed their doors on May 4, 2016. Katch provided an amazing service by allowing Periscopers and those on Meerkat to capture their streams for perpetuity. You could download all the videos and then use them as content on any other platform…YouTube, blogs, etc.
Why did Blab and Katch fail to survive in the wild west of live-streaming start-ups?
Why has Meerkat announced that they are on the brink of collapse as well…strategically transforming from a live-streaming model to a video upload model?
Who’s on the horizon that looks like they’ll be staying and playing for the long-term?
Why Blab is Dead, Katch spiraled out of business, and Meerkat has lost ground.
There are a number of reasons that these companies failed to survive but the #1 reason is a failure to correctly compute the amount of effort it would take to thrive in the marketplace. As with many new start-ups, they all experienced the effect of “newness” with a huge upward swing that looked destined for super-stardom. During that initial influx of growth, they failed to predict and correctly prepare for the potential changes that could occur such as new competitor start-ups, Facebook starting their own Live Streaming, adaptive customer usage, etc. etc.
As with every new company, there’s an observe-adapt-predict cycle of action that needs to be taken. It’s often disregarded during the celebrations of instant success and when it does get instituted, it’s too late to change the course of ultimate failure.
First, these companies all needed to correctly observe and evaluate HOW the users were mostly utilizing their service. In the case of Blab, they really wanted it to be a platform for people to host shows, educate, entertain, experience benefits of business expansion or bringing value to the marketplace. What it turned into was a “hang-out” where people would just get on to chit-chat and make friends. What Blab failed to do was properly promote the influencers, push forward the top shows, AND create a paid model. Had there been an opportunity to have a paid membership where top show hosts could advertise and list build right on the platform, it would have been ideal and generated sources of revenue for BLAB.
The top users in Katch were asking for a Premium level with more control of their content. Their requests were disregarded.
Or, they could have simply followed the trending usage and made it more enticing for hanging-out…again utilizing an advertising model that aligns with that audience to drive in revenue. Idealism about not utilizing advertising on a platform is almost always a catalyst for certain death as the cost to maintain the technology for live-streaming is burdensome and can be catastrophic without a proper income generation model.
Did the fall of Katch.me give us clues to the inevitable announcement that Blab is dead.
Yes. When Katch.me announced their closing, it had us all looking at who was next.
I spoke with the owners of Katch.me at the Periscope live conferenced in New York City. The nicest people ever! While I loved Katch in general, one of my primary complaints about Katch.me was the inability to choose what was “Katched” and what wasn’t. I didn’t want everything I broadcasted on Periscope to be available in Katch for perpetuity. I also didn’t want to spend the time to go into Katch to delete it after the fact. The fact of the matter is that I did some live-streams exclusive to particular audiences and having it available on Katch was a problem.
With Katch, they simply did not plan effectively and ran out of energy and money. They couldn’t secure the investments needed to continue their growth. Great company. Crappy planning. Here’s a screenshot of their growth.
I’ve seen this with a number of tech companies I’ve worked with. They have a great idea, great programmers, and crappy business people at the helm of the company. They aren’t correctly crunching numbers, haven’t thought through their revenue modeling, and are sometimes running on idealism. The fact is, advertising, membership, and creating avenues for revenue generation are what keep a company afloat, pay the employees, and generate the foundation for strong revenue. They focused more on membership growth, which sucked up server space, bandwith and resources while giving very little attention to revenue growth.
Oh Meerkat…what have you learned? I first learned about Meerkat from my friend, Grant Cardone, who took to the platform and, in my opinion, made it well known. Meerkat started with a huge bang, securing $12million in venture capital in 2015. However, the struggles started early and it was pretty much a bumper-car ride to an inevitable white flag waving.
First, Twitter gave Meerkat a one-two punch by denying access to it’s social graph, making it harder for users to find the people they would like to follow and watch on Meerkat. That was followed by Twitter’s love affair with Periscope. Periscope took the front lead backed by the very deep pockets and instant uploads to Twitter.
Meerkat stumbled to find enough interesting broadcasters. They had about 100,000 broadcasters, a fraction of which were regularly broadcasting or were interesting enough to draw a regular audience. Even Grant began using Periscope more and more and Meerkat less and less. Meerkat hasn’t kicked the bucket just yet. Rather, they are repackaging and reformatting in an attempt to compete in the video streaming world. We’ll see how that goes…but it doesn’t look good since their last blog update was March 4!!??. When companies stop communicating, it’s usually because their isn’t any good news to share. Good Luck Ben Rubin!
Who’s Left Now that Blab is Dead – Periscope, FB Live, Snapchat
Let’s talk Periscope.
When I heard Periscope was being backed by Twitter, I knew it was a long-term play. So, I did what any adventurous entrepreneur does, I got on, learned it, grew an audience, and constructed a course called Periscope Mastery.
Periscope has been on the rise, as the leader in mobile live-streaming apps. With over 10,000,000 active users, it’s still a big hit. Recently, they have made several developments including:
- Broadcasting from a GoPro or Drone
- Sketch – the ability to draw on your broadcast
- Instant livestreaming on Twitter
- Finding broadcasts on the map for replays
- Instant skip ahead on replays
- The ability to watch on Apple TV (HUGE!!!)
Needless to say, Periscope is here to stay and is Twitter’s live-streaming baby.
What about FB Live?
Facebook Live started with a rolling launch. influencers got it first creating instant buzz and a “have to have it” sensation. Then it rolled out to everyone and it’s one of the best platforms. My videos get thousands of views without any paid promotion or trying to bring in a ton of followers, etc. It’s a money-maker, that’s for sure.
FB live is here to stay and you should be using it. There are many free tools you can use to enhance your abilities on FB live, including Online Broadcaster Services, a free service that allows you to screen share, split-screen, and brand your videos. Plus, you can BOOST your Live-Streams giving you that extra umphh when you are doing a promotion.
An then there is SnapChat
I wish I could tell you more about this super phenom, but alas, I haven’t started using it. It’s next on my list to dig in and rock with.
I can tell you it’s here to stay. Facebook once offered SnapChat $3 billion for a buyout and one of the co-founders declined the cash offer. Whaaatttt???? So Facebook did what Facebook does and set out to crush Snapchat with their own copy-cat app called Slingshot. Slingshot bombed, leaving SnapChat in the lead for it’s unique niche market of instantly disappearing, watch once image/video sharing. It became infamous for teenage sexting but has gained an entirely new reputation as influencers have jumped on board promoting more valuable and engaging content.
Who else is out there….
There’s a slew of other live-streaming apps, none of which have proven if they have the long-term stability, smarts behind the wheel, funding resources, or vision to stand the test of time. We’ll see how Live.me, Firetalk, and others.
And the hot news now is that YouTube has announced live-streaming through their app as well. We’ll see what that looks like, but of course, it’s most likely here to stay backed by the mega-bucks of Google.
It’s sad to say that Blab is Dead and to watch the fall of great ideas. I honor each of these innovators as they took risks and faced challenges few are ever willing to endeavor. While they didn’t make it, they did make a mark and for that they should be remembered.
Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on live-streaming and where you see the future heading.
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