Noida-based online TV guide and social and community platform iDubba has launched iCouch that allows users to live chat during a TV show or event. The company has also partnered with Zee Cafe for Grey’s Anatomy season 7 to conduct live chats about the show. iDubba also plans to partner with more channels in the near future.
Users will have to download iCouch Android app available for download from the Google Play Store. Chat rooms associated with the show are open for chat only when the show is aired. Users will have to enter their mobile phone number to start using the app, upon which the app sends a 4-key pin for verification. The app then allows users to invite users through SMS, Facebook or Twitter. We couldn’t test the chat room as it’s open only when the show is being aired, however, it appears that users can like a conversation or mark it as spam. Users can also upload their favorite scene from the app.
However, we had the app installed on our phone and noticed that the app sends quite a few notifications including a notification about the show timing, interesting facts about the show, among others.
Monetization: Rabi Gupta, Co-founder at iDubba, in an email conversation with MediaNama said that currently iDubba does not monetize the app and is looking to focus on growth. Gupta also mentioned that iDubba could monetize through TV Channels, media agencies, advertisers, among others.
In the Google Play Store screenshots, we noticed that the app also holds quizzes on ads seen on TV. We believe that ad quiz could be a good way to monetize using advertisers. As people tend to switch between the channels when a show breaks for an ad, brands and advertisers could use iCouch platform to check whether people watched their ads.
The company claims that more than 2000 people have registered on the app since its launch and has received more than 5000 conversations for the last two chat rooms it opened for the Grey’s Anatomy show.
TV Shows and chat: Users tend to turn to second screen, either smartphone or tablet, to make the TV watching experience more social. Typically users have turned to Twitter to talk about shows. There are other web apps such as Getglue.com where users can check-in to shows and chat or discuss about it. Note that iDubba also allows users to check-in to a show, however, iDubba only allows users to check-in if the TV show is currently being aired.
For its iCouch platform too, iDubba seems to concentrate on live TV shows. One of the pattern that has emerged in last couple of years is watching TV shows on-demand. With iTunes and other content platforms extending its platforms to India, we believe that watching videos on-demand would only increase. Social networking sites such as Twitter provide a perfect platform to discuss TV shows while watching it on-demand. However there’s one caveat — watching videos on-demand also makes it relatively difficult to discuss the show on social networking sites, as the discussions could contain spoilers.
In October 2012, iDubba had launched iTRPs, offering its own television ratings platform based on the number of iDubba users watching and registering(or tune-ins) what they’re watching.