PrimeAgain launches Winker, wants to attract Asian users with ephemeral video sharing



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based PrimeAgain, the startup best known for its mobile apps DecoAlbum and DrawChat, introduced a video chat app called Winker today. The app is available for iOS in English and Japanese. It allows you to take a video clip or a snapshot in a limited time you choose from one to ten seconds for sharing with other users. A user receiving your clip can play or view it just once.

The company’s co-founder and CEO Nobuhiro Abe told us what they expect from the app:

When you upload a video clip to a social network platform, you will carefully decorate or edit it prior to uploading, since it will remain permanently. Some people appeared in the clip may feel uncomfortable if you publish it to the public. However, you will have less reluctance to upload it if it’s an ephemeral and short-time one. I think this our concept is pretty similar to human memory system where we typically forget past events as time goes by.

According to Abe, the SnapChat app has surpassed 70 or 80 million downloads, most of which come from the US market. So there’s no key player in this space especially in the Asian regions. As many of our readers can agree, the Line app dominates the Asian markets while WhatsApp does in Western countries. In a similar way, the company wants to position Winker as the ephemeral video sharing app for Asia while SnapChat mainly serving American users. Abe explained a bit about the app’s uniqueness:

You can invite your friends to Winker using Facebook, Twitter and Line. However, your clips posted on the app will be never shared via these social network platforms. If you link your Winker account to your Twitter account, your Twitter friends and you can follow on Winker each other.

In this space, we’ve seen competitors like Muuk (by Mixi), 5sec snaps (by DeNA), PicChat (by Cinnamon), and Commu Camera (by Yahoo Japan). PrimeAgain plans to differentiate the Winker app from these competitors by adding new functions in the near future. Furthermore, they want to explore a potential monetization model by giving their corporate users an API (application program interface) to allow them to gain access to their official Winker accounts.