The livestreaming app Blab that launched in early 2015 and amassed almost 4 million users in just one year shut down its operations last weekend. The CEO Shaan Puri made the announcement on Medium late Friday.
“Today is the last day of Blab. We’re shutting down the website and app, and focusing 100% on our new project,” Puri wrote in the Medium post.
The app, which competed with IBM-owned UStream.tv, Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope among other media companies was created at Monkey Inferno — a self-funded tech incubator.
Blab was more like a hybrid of Google Hangouts (multiple users) and Periscope (single user). If you have ever used Google Hangout, the concept is somewhat similar. Up to four people at a time could participate in a chat with others submitting commentaries. The founders, Michael and Xochi Birch envisioned a place where the community gathered to talk, but according to Puri, two things went wrong.
Why The Blab App Went Away
First, most livestreams on Blab “suck,” Puri explained. “Because most live streams aren’t interesting enough to justify stopping what they are doing to watch your broadcast,” he added.
With almost 4 million users, only 10 percent came back on a regular basis. “The struggle with livestreaming is that we need to show you something awesome, that’s being made right now,” Puri wrote.
The second reason for the app’s failure, according to Puri, is the comapany’s failure to gain commercial traction. While Blab wanted to appeal to brands, most of their users were people who were looking for a place to hang out with their friends.
Puri said users of the platform had far more interaction among groups of like-minded friends on Blab than with brands like Cisco, UFC and ESPN, as creators of the streaming site had hoped would happen. While the brands would use Blab once a week for about two hours, people using the platform to catch up with friends would be active for approximately five to six hours every day.
With a mission to create a platform that millions of people around the world would use every day, the Blab team has decided to rebuild their app around what’s already working, Puri said in his post.
“For us, we would rather fail trying to achieve our mission than succeed at someone else’s mission,” he wrote. “We’re taking what worked, and doubling down on it. We’re taking what didn’t work, and learning from it, and making adjustments.”
But in his post, Puri wasn’t really specific about what this particular pivot would look like. or when the new re-imagined app might apppear.
Blab is not the first livestreaming service to decide to change course and try something new after meeting limited success. Earlier this year, Meerkat, another live video streaming app, threw in the towel pivoting to a new service that the app’s startup team has yet to launch.