At Oregon State University, Meerkat is providing a new way to broadcast the athletic department's press conferences.
"I think Meerkat has been a great addition to the social media landscape in that it gives you the ability to go live and bring something to your fanbase on the fly," said Hank Hager, the university's assistant director for Athletic Communications.
Typically, the university would live-stream formal press conferences during football season via "the usual HD camera setup with Ethernet, etc.," he said.
Meerkat has untethered such efforts and allowed them to go "out to the practice field, where we've never gone live before," he said. "Or in the case of our baseball team, I've given fans live look-ins at batting practice" for the first time.
"Meerkat has given us an avenue to bring fans closer to us immediately," Hager said. "Being live just makes for a great experience."
Possibilities down the road include player interviews on the field and Q&As with coaches and athletes. That would require questions being submitted through the app, and so far, the university has not seen much in the way of comments, despite the presence of viewers, Hager admitted.
Oregon State has done some early testing of Periscope as well, and plans to do more, he said, noting its inclusion of analytics as an advantage.
"Brands will want to know who is watching their stuff and for how long — the same basic statistics they get from YouTube, but for a live audience," Gillin said. "If either platform is going to become a major revenue generator, it will have to provide strong reporting features."
One of the biggest risks for brands using Meerkat and Periscope is that there's currently no way to prevent spam or moderate comments, Francis said.
Still, "I definitely think brands should invest time and resources into one of these video services," she added, particularly restaurants, real estate agents, news sites, and "any brands that can create visual content to share with their audience."
Earlier this week, Francis wrote a blog post entitled, "Eight ways brands can add Meerkat into their marketing mix."
Bottom line? How they choose to use live-stream video apps can vary widely, but the potential benefits are clear, she said: "Businesses may get an edge on their competitors if they start building up an engaged fan base now."
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