OoVoo wants to bring TV viewing, gaming & dating to video chat

Group video chat startup OoVoo is working on adding premium video content, gaming and dating applications to its service, according to OoVoo president Jay Samit. Adding additional content to video chat isn’t just supposed to make people stick around even longer, but also bring more advertisers on board.

Samit told me during an OoVoo video call Monday that TV already plays a big role for the company. “Half of our users use it to watch TV together,” he said, adding: “We are the second screen today.”

Usually, that just means having a video chat open while something is running on the living room TV, or a video stream is playing in another window. However, some of OoVoo’s more inventive users have already found their own way of integrating TV more directly. A number of users filmed their TV screen with their phone or laptop to give friends access to shows like Mad Men when DISH (s DISH) dropped the show due to a retransmisson fee dispute earlier this summer, Samit said.

OoVoo wants to officially add this kind of content, as well as games and dating services, later this year through collaborations with third-party providers. The goal isn’t just more stickiness, but also additional revenue opportunities: OoVoo’s mobile apps come without any premium services, and Samit told me that this won’t change anytime soon. Instead, the company wants to put an even bigger emphasis on ads. “We are a new category for advertising,” Samit said, promising advertisers a more interactive experience.

OoVoo’s new Android app with four-way chat.

Of course, OoVoo isn’t the first one to add entertainment content to its group video chat. Google released an API for its Hangout group video chat platform last September, which allows third-party developers to add their own apps and content to the platform. Back then, I argued that these kinds of integrations could be a game changer for social video.

OoVoo has proven particularly popular with younger users, and Samit told me Monday that the company is now clocking one billion video minutes a month. Each day, it attracts close to 1000,000 new users, and half of those users are on mobile devices. OoVoo wants to improve the experience for these mobile users with a new video chat experience that allows users to view video of up to up to four friends simultaneously. The new four-way chat is available for both iOS and Android devices, and OoVoo said in a release that it is supported on over 240 different devices.