David Beckham has become a founding investor in MyEye, a live video streaming service similar to Meerkat and Periscope. He will also act as an ambassador for the British startup, streaming live content exclusively on the app.
Beckham’s 77 million-plus Facebook subscribers could give MyEye a huge popularity boost. When he set up an Instagram account in May, the athlete set a Guinness World Record for how quickly he acquired followers. (He still has not joined Twitter.) Meerkat followed a similar strategy with celebrity backers Jared Leto and Ashton Kutcher, and selfie app Shots also benefited from the backing of Justin Bieber, which brought the app not only new users but also substantial funding.
MyEye is similar to Meerkat and Periscope, except that videos last 72 hours rather than 24 and geographic privacy settings can be more easily customized. The app is platform-independent, although users can share their streams on Twitter and Facebook.
But while MyEye targets celebrities seeking to engage with fans, the lack of social platform integration could be a hindrance, as it has been for Snapchat. While Snapchat was the fastest-growing social app of 2014, it has far fewer users than similar platforms, according to L2’s Insight Report: Mobile Social Platforms. Snapchat has about 100 million users, in contrast to Instagram’s 300 million or Facebook’s billion-plus. There are also fewer brands on the platform. Only 6% of the brands tracked by L2 have established a Snapchat presence, while 96% are on Twitter and 100% are on Facebook.
Independent platforms like Snapchat and MyEye also risk being victims of their own success as larger social media entities copy their capabilities. In January, Twitter added multi-party messaging and native video capability with the goal of engaging users who would otherwise use other platforms. The social media giant followed a similar strategy by investing in Periscope, causing Meerkat’s popularity to plunge.
As users and brands moved to Periscope, participation on Meerkat declined. The exception was early adopters, who stayed on Meerkat — indicating user reluctance to switch from one streaming service to another. This could be another potential setback for MyEye as it seeks to lure users away from existing services as the third live streaming app.