There were perhaps 100 print, online and TV reporters drinking coffee and eating parfait at the press event in Chelsea last week. Media from Bloomberg, CNN, the Associated Press and the New York Times down to GigaOM, Business Insider and BuzzFeed were there for more than an hour watching a mini-parade of celebrities take the stage. Now that Airtime has been out for a week, we can assess the results of that massive press push.
No fewer than seven stars were there, and what did it get Airtime? According to AppData, Airtime has enticed just 150,000 people to try it out. Because Airtime requires users to log in with Facebook, that number includes every person who has tried Airtime in the last week.
Going from 0 to 150,000 new users is no easy feat. But still, that’s less than 19,000 new users per A-list celebrity. It’s just a tenth of the size of the viral video chat app Chatroulette at its peak. Considering the low barrier to entry–the app requires no download, just a Facebook login–and the nearly 10,000 articles about the app in Google News, it’s surprising that Airtime’s numbers aren’t higher.
Maybe it’s that, as everyone this reporter introduces to Airtime always points out, Facebook already has video chat of its own. Coupled with Socialcam, a social video app that is the most popular app on Facebook right now with more than 77 million users, Facebook video chat is a pretty close substitute for Airtime.