This is the latest move as Meerkat and rival Periscope step up their battle for the next frontier of video. It's the latest in a series of announcements for Meerkat, including the ability to connect to Facebook profiles, and "Cameo," the ability for users to switch their live stream over to someone else, for a brief cameo.
Meerkat made the announcement at VidCon, the online video creators conference, where it was first reported by CNBC.
Content creators and publishers are already teaming up to make money from the platform: The Country Music Association Awards partnered with Mountain Dew, and Discovery's Shark Week with Dunkin' Donuts. Plus there are a range of other brands using the service for promotion, from The Weather Channel, to TMZ and the CW.
This is all part of Meerkat's effort to compete with Periscope, which has the advantage of being owned by—and integrated into—Twitter. Though there are no official user numbers for either services, Adobe's Digital Index, which measures attention on social networks, says that Periscope is more popular than Meerkat.
There's also a third player in this race, which is quietly building an army of teen users: YouNow. The start-up says it has 5 million members, and 100 million user sessions monthly. And it's already bringing in money: Fans can buy virtual goods, with which fans can tip performers they like, or they can spend them to help their favorite broadcasters "trend," raising their profile on the service. Unlike Meerkat and Periscope, which are looking for a broad audience, YouNow is focused solely on teens.
Live streaming technology— and the ability it brings for viewers to interact with content creators—will almost certainly gain in popularity. The question is whether Meerkat or YouNow will draw acquisition interest from one of the giants, such as YouTube or Facebook.