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DabKick launches TV rooms to combine group chats with appointment viewing

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iPhone chat and app DabKick has come up with a pretty interesting way to share media with your friends, and chat with them about it. Now, it wants you to get to talk to strangers as well, thanks to a very old concept: appointment viewing.

DabKick is officially introducing a feature dubbed Rooms to its app Wednesday that will stream video based on a set schedule while at the same time allowing users to chat with random strangers. Does that sound like everything you hate about TV, combined with everything you hate about the internet? Well, yes, and no.


First, let’s back up for a second for a closer look at DabKick. The mobile media sharing app allows iPhone users to quickly snap a photo, grab a song or find a YouTube video and share it with their friends, to then text-chat in real-time about it.

Sounds like a simple idea, but DabKick is actually using some pretty interesting tech to make these media exchanges instantaneous. Photos are transferred super-fast, and you can easily browse with your friends through slideshows and chat away.

DabKick founder and CEO Balaji Krishnan shared some interesting thoughts on why text chat works better for this kind of media sharing experience than voice or video during a recent interview. “We don’t always talk,” he said. When you watch TV with a friend, it’s fine to be silent for a while — but silence is awkward on a voice or video call.

DabKick has seen some growth with its app, particularly in the Philippines, but Krishnan wants to use the newly introduced rooms feature to lure in celebrities and brands, and give users a way to stick around longer, and start conversations with random strangers. Appointment viewing of online video, even with a social angle, has been tried before by startups like Chill, which eventually gave up because it was just too hard to get people to show up on time, or at all.

Krishnan told me he wants to avoid a similar fate by keeping a tap on the number of rooms. Initially, the company is starting with just one, and it wants to slowly grow as demand increases. I’m honestly still unsure about the whole idea, but then again, there are startups like Sounddrop that have made social appointment entertainment work.

Image courtesy of Flickr user dafnecholet.