Live chat, online video, and social networking are three very popular sectors of the Internet. So, why not combine them all to create a platform for people to watch videos together, while chatting and getting to know each other? Which is where Watchitoo comes in.
Social Online Video Viewing
The idea of social viewing for online video has been around for a while now. Lycos lets people watch movies together, while PalTalk allows video chat to be integrated into rooms with multiple users. Then in October 2008, CBS introduced social viewing rooms to its Web site, which allows groups of people to watch CBS shows online together in the same way they would in a living room.
That’s the key to this whole idea; moving the real-life living room to the virtual world. Because online video viewing is usually a solitary pastime, with even the best clips only being shared either by embedding or linking rather than watching together with other people in real-time. But Watchitoo changes all that.
Watch It Too With Watchitoo
Watchitoo is a start-up based in New York and Israel which operates on the premise that humans are inherently social animals. The increased popularity of social networking of late would seem to back this premise up. So Watchitoo attempts to combine several elements into one in order to allow online video viewing with an added social twist.
With Watchitoo, anyone can open a room, either public or private, where either invited guests or a group of strangers can socialize. There’s the option to text chat, video chat, and most importantly share YouTube videos with each other. So it’s kind of like watching a television channel made up of selected YouTube videos with your friends. Or random strangers if you prefer.
Revenue and Content Concerns
Watchitoo was founded in 2007 and has been in private beta testing for a number of months. But it’s now open to the public, with a full-screen viewing mode added as a new feature. At the moment the site is free and not monetized, but chief executive Rony Zarom told VentureBeat that it’s looking to pursue one of a number of different revenue models.
Content is limited just to YouTube videos for now, but that could obviously be expanded to include other sources over time. And with content still being key, that could prove to be the making of Watchitoo. This kind of application would obviously work better with long-form content such as full episodes of TV shows or feature films, rather than short-form clips of animals surfing and the like.
I like the idea of social viewing for online video, but every attempt at turning this into the next big Internet phenomenon has so far failed to really take off. Whether Watchitoo can manage to dig itself out of the niche sector and in to the mainstream remains to be seen. But it has a good chance of doing so because the site is designed well and deserves to flourish.