Oluwanifemi and Emmanuel here.
Any more news about a big tech company jumping on the live audio train, and I might pull my hair out.
Even Slack is making a Clubhouse copycat.
Other companies made moves or hinted at them, leaving people to speculate about what they were up to. However, Slack’s CEO didn’t leave anything to the imagination as he confirmed, during a Clubhouse session, that the company is building a Clubhouse copycat.
This is a classic case of what happens with a new idea that everyone wants to get in on. Twitter’s attempt, Spaces, is functional on iOS and Android, with the Web version coming soon.
Facebook? We’re not sure where its head is, but the longer it waits, the more competitive the market gets.
Yesterday, it was Spotify after acquiring Locker Room. LinkedIn too. And although the feature fits well into its model — a place for audio conversations — social networking platform, Discord has also hopped on the bandwagon.
Though Clubhouse is enjoying exclusivity and sticking to iOS. I reckon that competitors might go the other route, as Twitter did with Spaces, and make their features accessible to more users.
As I mentioned in this piece, it is undoubtedly the era of audio communication.
One of the many reasons for this is the ease and speed of communication that text does not offer users. On Kaspersky’s concerns, Clubhouse gives users a sense of borderless expression while leaving out possible implications.
But I have my reservation about features like this that every platform wants to have. For one, the market might not be as big as the firstcomer makes it seem. Sometimes, investors’ interest is influenced by the fear of missing out on a potentially profitable venture. Still, the initial user rush doesn’t promise retention.
Did you know? Clubhouse’s founders might still be trying to figure out a revenue model. Read.
These big companies copycatting Clubhouse might already have working models and are only adding the social radio feature to attract users or not be left out. However, it will have to be monetised, at some point, because investors are waiting for their returns.
Fun fact: Clubhouse Media, a marketing and media firm for influencers that runs several influencer mansions, is cashing out on people’s excitement (and confusion) to buy stocks in the Clubhouse app. Oops!
At the moment, Clubhouse is working on either bringing in ads and subscription plans for users who want to escape them. It is also helping influencers make money during their sessions.
One good thing with this feature is the access to huge amounts of data. Clubhouse, for instance, requires your real name, email address, and phone number. But isn’t that what most apps already have access to?
There’s more. It collects information about your communication profile: how often and for how long you are active, what times of the day you tune in, and with which people and groups you communicate.
It even records conversations and saves them (temporarily?) to investigate possible rule violations.
Now, what does that attract? Data protection checks from different quarters.
Enough with the backstory. Should we imagine the future of this craze? In 2015, it was live streaming, with the launch of Periscope and Meerkat. Periscope dethroned Meerkat with Twitter’s backing, but it didn’t stay long on that throne. Facebook launched its own streaming service, Instagram and TikTok too.
With various platforms having inbuilt streaming services, no one could dominate the video streaming market. The sucker punch? Twitter integrated its streaming service, eliminating the need for Periscope.
On March 31, 2021 — three months after Twitter dropped a hint due to a declining userbase — Periscope announced its shutdown.
This feels familiar, and with every social network coming up with a voice service, well, Clubhouse no longer seems unique. Unlike Periscope, it could come up (hopefully) with innovative ways to stay ahead of the competition.
The billion-dollar question: With $100 million raised and over a billion-dollar valuation, what will be Clubhouse’s fate in the next six years? I’d say a very different platform than what it is now, or an important lesson for up and coming startup founders. What do you think?
African considerations: Streaming voice, video, or any data-consuming Internet service is a different experience in Africa. Here’s why. Group Executive Director of Commercials at ipNX Nigeria, Bimpe Olaleye has called for closer attention to the potential of the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) in Nigeria.
Nigeria wants 70% of its population to get broadband penetration by 2025, but several states are yet to key into this vision. Fibre-to-the-home connections could help bridge this gap, Nigeria and several other African countries have the least affordable Internet in the world.
Not so fun fact: Did you know that the world’s most populous continents, Asia and Africa, have the least Internet penetration rates?
As the African ecosystem matures alongside its digital native youth, we should, to some extent, see stuff like VoD, eSports, and remote jobs in foreign companies that require high-speed Internet become commonplace.
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