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Meerkat Secure Shark Week with Embeddable Streaming

variety.com
How do you edge ahead in the ever more cutthroat live-streaming arms race? If you're Meerkat, you secure the principle streaming rights to the longest running event in cable television history, Discovery's Shark Week. Since 1988, the educational channel has been running a week's worth of programs entirely based around sharks. It's faced some controversy for erring more on the side of fictitious, sensationalist programming in recent years, but it still pulls in massive ratings.

The event is promoted heavily on social media every year anyway, but Meerkat will be working directly with Discovery for the entire run, putting out content directly via the @SharkWeek account and posting exclusive, behind the scenes footage on the channel's DLive web portal. This second detail is important, because it will serve as an early, widespread example of Meerkat's newest feature: the ability to embed streams on other sites.

This is a big deal, live-streaming which is restricted to its parent site is one thing, but add the ability for them to be posted pretty much anywhere online and you've made a massive leap forward. Increased interactive appeal has more or less become Meerkat's mantra. Recently they also made their API public, allowing DIY developers to tinker around with the platform. This could have some pretty major implications for technological development, a Meerkat drone is already being built.

As far as Shark Week goes, the broadcasts will range from a live feeding at the Baltimore Aquarium to live interviews with shark experts (or 'Finbassadors'), other scientists and cinematographers as well as feed of live, promotional events. All of this content will be entirely exclusive to Meerkat, designed to enhance the content already being broadcast on TV (however none of it will be replayable, Meerkat has yet to add that option).

Meerkat users will also be encouraged to upload their own Shark Week-centric streams, though what those could entail is a mystery at this point. If I had to guess, I'd say it will largely consist of people riffing on/reacting to the programs broadcast, but beyond that I have no idea, other than the fact that sharks will definitely be involved. No word yet on how Mary Lee the tweeting shark is taking the news, she's thought to be a pretty avid Periscope supporter.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Meerkat Secure Shark Week with Embeddable Streaming Reviewed by Callum Davies on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 Rating: 5

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