Lockdown impact: Live video chat apps segment is silently garnering millions of users

While short-video apps have been in the spotlight of late, away from the limelight and scrutiny a new ecosystem of ‘Live video chat’ apps has silently garnered millions of users.

These apps allow users to video-call strangers. Four such apps — Chamet, LivU, WHO, and Azar — are among the top 10 grossing apps on the Play Store in India right now.

As per estimates from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, leading apps in this category make between $200,000 and $300,000 a month in revenue from India via in-app purchases by users. To continue chatting after a few seconds on these apps, a user needs to pay, and the charges vary — for instance, on ZAKZAK Pro, 30 app coins enable a one-minute video call. Coins are sold as packages that range from 269 coins for Rs 399 to 3,029 coins for Rs 3,999. Callers can also gift coins to each other during a video chat.


A lot of these apps have seen a sudden spike in downloads and user spending during the lockdown in India, as per data shared by Sensor Tower. FancyU, for instance, has seen revenue from in-app purchases go up from $5,000 in February to $38,000 in June. It added over 300,000 Indian users on Android in February and more than twice that number in March. In May, the app recorded over a million downloads in India on Play Store. It seems FancyU is targeted specifically at Indian users, as its description given on Play Store is a transliteration of Hindi words in English.

Email queries sent to these apps did not elicit any response till the time of going to press on Sunday.

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