Editor note: Meerkat was killed off by its creators in 2016. It will be missed. Use Periscope for live streaming instead.
A couple months ago, a state soccer association asked how they might live-stream video from the site as the soccer games were being played at their tournaments. While possible, the costs to pull that off were over whelming.
Not so any more.
Introduced at this year’s SXSWi, Meerkat has been taking the Internet by storm, even being used by broadcast and cable TV to provide some behind-the-scenes look at how TV news comes together. It was even used by Kasie Hunt of NBC to interview the Press Secretary, Josh Earnest recently.
What is Meerkat?
Meerkat is an iPhone App (Android coming out soon hopefully) that turns any iPhone into a broadcast video camera. Basically, you download the app, log in with your twitter account and press the stream button. You can also get fancy and put in a title for your streaming session or enter a delay time to start counting down when your session will begin. When your twitter followers have also downloaded the stream and turned on notifications, they will get a notification that you are either live or you have set a delayed stream. They then click on the link in your twitter timeline to start watching whatever you are pointing your camera phone to.
There are other features like flipping the cameras around to point toward you, a chat button that functions like twitter (and goes out to their twitter timeline) as well as a like button. Once you are done streaming, you can save your stream to your camera or just let it disappear, much like Snapchat. It does not get saved onto the Meerkat servers (they say…) so everything is like live TV.
Firstly, build out your networks. Since Meerkat relies on a strong twitter network, you should focus on there. Running up to your tournament, set up some behind-the-scenes meerkat sessions such as a welcome message from the tournament director or a Q&A session where you encourage questions be submitted live via meerkat.
Visit an advertiser/sponsor and meerkast the experience. Ask the owner/manager to invite the teams or welcome them. Do this before, during and after the tournament.
Invite parents to meerkast the games during the entire weekend. Post a large banner with the meerkat logo and a white space where anyone willing to meerkast can put their twitter handle (we’ll make a downloadable, printable PDF for you soon) so fans and players can connect and watch each others’ meerkast. Convert this into a front page, sticky story so people can find and follow the live video streams from your tournament.
Assign someone from your tournament to be the official meerkat stream from the tournament. Video games, the HQ, interview vendors, show the action, show the fun. Show the teams that decided to go to another tournament instead of yours how much fun they are missing!
I’m sure there are all sorts of other ways you can use meerkat for your event. Feel free to share them with us and we’ll post your creativity right here.