Watchitoo on Monday is launching the private beta version of its web-based service for sharing videos, photos, music and documents while video chatting. We have beta invites for NewTeeVee readers; I believe you can access them here, but let me know if that doesn’t work.
What makes Watchitoo stand out is the synchronized experience. Users watch media and each other, via webcams, at the same time in one browser-based interface. They also can share control of the screen, rather than being restricted to one presenter controlling the content as with a webinar/demo situation. Watchers can participate without registering.
Watchitoo was founded three years ago by Rony Zarom, who previously founded and sold mobile web startup Exalink to Comverse for $550 million. It’s funded by Decima Ventures. The full product is supposed to launch in June.
But a destination-type service may not be the best approach for this technology; Clipsync, in order to better negotiate content deals (and acquire new users), changed over to white-labeling, and now powers online TV viewing rooms for CBS. However, Zarom said Watchitoo would also provide white-label and corporate versions of its product. In addition, he wants to charge for a premium consumer service with P2P-powered videos, popular content, and paid video.
I would say that if Zarom wants to go the consumer route, he should right away enable registration via Facebook and other existing accounts. It just doesn’t make sense to start an independent communication platform in this day and age.
But my big question is, do I really care about watching my friends’ faces while we watch videos and other content? It’s not like that happens even when we’re all in one place in the living room. “Some people want to be watched,” was Zarom’s reply.