Mark Zuckerberg’s company, according to TechCrunch, is testing a Q&A service called Hotline. Users will be able to talk to each other in virtual chat rooms, conduct live broadcasts in audio format, and turn on the camera. Earlier it became known that Twitter is in talks to buy Clubhouse for $4 billion. All this is happening against the background of falling audience interest in the service for voice communication. What is the reason for the increased interest of the largest social networks in the Clubhouse format?
The excitement around the Clubhouse social network seemed to have ended as quickly as it had begun. After the boom in popularity in February, the global growth of the service’s audience slowed down. In Russia, the number of active users fell by more than half in March. However, the leading social networks have taken a closer look at the format of voice chats. Twitter has started testing the Spaces audio platform, and Telegramm has added an option for voice communication in virtual rooms. Now Facebook has taken up the task and launched the Hotline audio service in test mode.
The format of the new app is similar to Clubhouse. At the same time, you will not need an invite to register. Simply confirm your Twitter account with an SMS password. The new Facebook service will be able to successfully compete with the founder of the format, but open access may not appeal to all users, says Viktor Tishchenko, head of the Community Informatics Department at the Institute for Systems Analysis: “Such services have a rather serious future. Clubhouse is very much in line with real life, real human behavior. We are interested in communicating with each other. Facebook will, on the one hand, imitate the podcast, and, on the other — they are set to seize the initiative from Clubhouse, that is, in fact, it will be duplication.
What about Facebook?
And in the Facebook rooms, if they are opened through accounts, everything will break in a row. God knows what kind of people will come running into my room. In my opinion, this is definitely not a plus and will greatly complicate the communication atmosphere.”
Things haven’t been going so smoothly for Clubhouse recently: the service’s co-founder, Paul Davidson, admitted that competition with IT giants makes it difficult to develop the app. So, the Android version has not yet been released, and the service is still available only for iPhone and iPad owners.
The deal with Twitter has also stalled. The company wanted to buy Clubhouse for $4 billion, but negotiations broke down for unknown reasons. Billionaire Igor Rybakov, who spends a lot of time in the rooms, believes that the service is still looking for its niche in the market, and this makes large investors to be extremely cautious: “Facebook may add this feature, but there will not be a mass transition to the audio format, because it has already been done and tried many times. In Telegram, for example, there are audio chats, they do not receive any flow of visitors from the same Clubhouse. Live broadcast formats have a niche future. But with an audience of several billion people, any niche is an audience of tens and hundreds of millions of people. It is clear that it will be distributed among several platforms.
Clubhouse will not be alone, Twitter is also in business
Facebook adds, and Twitter wants to add. For a company starting out in the market, the most difficult thing is to remain a market maker for a year and raise money further, because this requires very large expenses. Whether Clubhouse will become a new niche player with a huge capitalization will be clear within 12 months.
“In principle, Twitter, probably, therefore, postponed conversations about the purchase, because the speed of growth of the Clubhouse audience slowed down a little”
Social networks, which are now trying to make voice communication services, take into account the mistakes of Clubhouse, says Anna Lopushnyak, executive director of the Creative Project communication agency. So, Clubhouse tries to save content inside the network and prohibits users from recording conversations. Facebook, on the contrary, puts on integration with other services. All Hotline conferences are automatically recorded so that they can be published on various social networks.
This option will help attract advertisers, says Anna Lopushnyak: “If we talk about the convenience of Clubhouse monetization, this social network does not yet offer a variety of formats in this direction. Its popularity is largely based on the fact that it is a new format for social networks, live voice communication, which also creates a certain sense of security and independence. Facebook has a mixed reputation in this area. On the other hand, it will be easier for brands to use the Facebook product, since it has already formed its audience and is quite successful. Talking is always easier than writing.”
“This format is one of the steps to communicating in VR in the future. It is quite expected that the world’s senior social networks will develop a new form for them.”
The market is not yet saturated with fresh offers, except for Clubhouse, there are no such platforms anymore. The same Facebook always strives to develop its own ecosystem and retain a loyal user within the family”.
The donation function has recently appeared in the Clubhouse. Now listeners can send money to streamers right in the app. Whether Hotline and other competitors will launch monetization for content creators remains to be seen.