Skype Group Calling Launches - Meh...

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Randy Savicky
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Skype Group Calling Launches - Meh...

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The group video calling feature is out of beta with the release of a new version of Skype and alas group video is no longer free. Just one more way Skype is looking to monetize before their IPO. smiley-frown As I wrote back in May 2010:

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Here's the kicker though from Skype's blog:
Group video calling is just one in a set of new premium features you'll see us roll out during 2010. We haven't set prices for these premium features yet, but rest assured that we're still absolutely committed to bringing you free voice and two-way video calling.
I bolded the relevant portions. So, group video is a "premium" feature and they plan to "set prices for these premium features"? So you'll have to pay for group video? Note how Skype adds they are "committed to bringing you free voice and two-way video calling." Thus, it seems to me two-way video calls will be free, but indeed multi-party video will not be free.

That could be a mistake. Skype should allow for free multiparty video -- for awhile at least. Let people try it and get used to it. Then maybe charge for it. Or maybe allow for low-quality multi-party group video and a premium charge for HD video. I just don't see consumers paying for group video. Enterprises - sure - but not consumers. If they want traction, they need to keep group video free for awhile.
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Group video calling is available as part of the new Premium package from Skype which offers group video calling together with access to live chat customer support as a day pass for $4.99 (€3.49/£2.99) or as a monthly subscription for $8.99 (€5.99/£4.99) per month. Skype users who sign up for group video calling in the first month it’s available will receive a 33 percent discount on 3 and 12-month subscriptions. New users receive a 7-day free trial. In addition, consumers who sign up for group video calling will receive a 25 percent discount off an HD webcam.

Two-way video is still free of course. If you ask me, Skype should have at least kept 3-way video calling free and made anything more than 3 participants require payment. Or maybe even allow 30 free group video calls and then after that start charging. Get people addicted to using it. What if I pay for group video, but 4 of my friends don't? Do we all have to pay to participate in group video calling? Yeah, good luck getting traction with that! But if you're not convinced group video is worth paying some coin for, maybe this video below will convince you otherwise.


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