April 15th, 2012
I am very excited about the upcoming startup, Airtime, founded by Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning. The home page image of Airtime website reminds me of old time manual telephone exchange, where an operator will connect you the recipient. I started thinking about the company name, Airtime, and I thought it could be something related to broadcasting, where someone would broadcast a video content and Airtime would help connecting you to a target audience, sort of video version of Twitter.
Is it about curated Video Timeline?
Airtime could be about curated video timelines as well. A traditional TV Channel decides what to broadcast during the day. In other words, it fixes a slot for a specific content based on its likability. For example, a 9:00 pm show might be more interesting than 11:00 pm show, as most people watch TV around 9.00 pm. This is so because airing a popular show at 9:00pm may turn up more viewers, resulting in increased revenue and TRP. Video stream on a TV channel is a push mechanism. You have to watch what channel wants you to watch.
Recent stats reveals that 48 hours of video is being uploaded on YouTube every minute. The stats suggest that video is very effective form of communication. YouTube is becoming successful communication platform, as it empowers anybody and everybody to broadcast. I can find five different version of a recipe by different cooks. I rely on search when I am trying to find a recipe. In other words, it’s more pull mechanism, you watch what you want to watch.
I think, Airtime will re-invent the video experience on web, where content of a channel will be decided by people in your interest graph. You will get to see best cooking shows on cooking channel. A popular show would take up prime time slot.
Is it more about scheduled broadcasts?
Last week I attended a social media webinar, a live music show and a yoga training session. Yoga training was a classroom event but rest were virtual events using video communication. With each coming day video communication is playing a bigger role among all communication forms. Almost daily, I get an email invite to attend a virtual conference, an earning call, a webinar and a town hall.
Is Airtime bringing video broadcasters and audiences under one umbrella? It can allow artists, professionals, entertainers and teachers to broadcast events and let their audience select what events they would attend. Google+ has taken a step forward in this direction already, where they show all ongoing hangouts in your circles.
It’s about discovering new people using video as a medium.
Oops! I may be wrong; I just read another article on Techcrunch about Airtime, and discovered that Airtime will help you meet new people on web using video communication. It may be an improvised version of Chatroulette, but something better where you won’t encounter people with their private parts up on the screen. I used Chatroulette once and I thought that what if they had an “I like this person” button on the screen, when I am talking to a stranger. My interests and my profile can determine my next encounter.
Everybody likes randomness when outcomes are in their favor, and they keep trying randomness until the outcomes are not in favor. Take an example of Blackjack, if you are losing, you try again with bonus, hoping that you will win next time and recover the losses. Airtime could develop a platform where people will discover new people based on their interest. There could be an angle of randomness, but I am sure it would not be as random as Chatroulette.
Why Airtime could be a success?
There are lots of reasons why people wants to meet new people except dating, as in new business connection, a potential employee/employer, to learn something, or simply to get help. What if the new person you meet matches your interests?
What people will talk about?
Marketers would like such a tool where they get a chance to promote their business, or find a VC, or find a talent for their next big Idea. If I am looking for job, I may try to find potential employers. Dating could be one of the vertical but it will not be a dating site mentioned by people behind it.
I am looking forward to Airtime launch, best of luck guys!
PS: I am not associated with Airtime and these are my personal views.