Exclusive: Viber CEO on App Monetization, the VoIP and Messaging Market, Expansion, and More

There’s no doubt that Viber is one of the most popular VoIP and messaging apps on the market today (though it hasn’t all been rainbows and pearls). We had the opportunity to speak with Viber CEO Talmon Marco regarding some innovations the company has in the works, his thoughts on the market, and his favorite part about being CEO. Check it out.

There have been hearing rumors that Viber will be looking to monetize its service in the future, whether it’s through advertising or in-app purchases. Is that possibly something you’re looking into?

“Viber will not be displaying banner ads. We think it’s intrusive and made a promise not to do it.

“We did say we will monetize this year and we stand by it. Viber will monetize in many ways. The first method we announced will be a sticker store. Users will be able to buy Stickers (or sticker packs). This will be via in-app purchase. There will be more monetization methods.”

“Viber will not be displaying banner ads. We think it’s intrusive and made a promise not to do it.”

Which market is the toughest to get into and how do you attribute Viber’s rapidly growing popularity?

“Viber is growing because of it blends nicely between being useful, fun, reliable, multi featured, easy to use and available on many platforms. An early movers advantage doesn’t hurt. To date, Viber’s growth has been completely organic, with not a single dollar spent on advertising.”

What are your thoughts on the VoIP and messaging market and where do you see it going in the near and far future?

“We see it as the most exciting online space at the moment. It’s useful, it’s fun, it’s something that everybody needs. And it’s growing like crazy. We see the communication services evolving more and more into social platforms – this is something that is happening now and will continue to happen. Over the next couple of years some of these services will mature into full blown social experiences.”

When can we hopefully expect stickers to reach Viber for Windows Phone 8?
“Soon. Real soon.”

Now that you’ve expanded to PC with Viber, are there any other areas that you’re looking at expanding? Game systems such as the Nintendo 3DS, etc.?

“We’re always looking at more platforms. At the same time, Viber is a small company, so adding these is not easy. Viber will soon be available for BB10 (likely hand in hand with the release of BB 10.2). And yeah, you heard about it first!”

“We’re always looking at more platforms.”

For you, what is the best part about being CEO of Viber?

“On occasion I get an email from a user saying how much Viber helps them by allowing them to staying in touch with their loved ones. It’s these moments, when I know that what we do matters, that get me and the other folks here going.”

  • Talmon Marco

    Hey guys, thank you for the kind words.

    Why do you think Nintendo 3DS makes sense for Viber? I assume you also have a phone next to it, so why use the 3DS for messaging/voice?

    Would appreciate the feedback. Thanks!

    • Casey

      Personally, I think it’s like having Skype in Xbox One and PlayStation Vita. It gives users another option to connect through. Another screen. A lot of people may or may not have a smartphone to download apps on since the smartphone penetration is only at half the population I think. Just my two cents.

    • Gammi

      I think it would be cool to use in the 3DS environment, especially if it was somehow integrated into the gaming experience. Either way, just being able to take and send 3D pictures, stickers, and 3DS drawings and notes would be enough of a differentiator from other platforms and versions.

      As long as it could be deactivated with parental controls of course ;) My kids really don’t need Viber on their 3DS’s, but it would be useful in a variety of situations on mine.

      • Zultan The Englishman

        That’s quite interesting concept

      • Talmon Marco

        Realistically speaking, I doubt we will do it. We don’t have the resources. If Nintendo wanted to do it, we will be more than happy to provide them with the needed APIs and core engine. It could be a cool concept. Same for all other platforms mentioned here.

        It will not be the first time a hardware manufacturer decided to develop Viber for their platform.

        So if anyone out there at Big N reading this, drop us a line..

    • http://www.trutower.com/author/josh_nay/ Josh Nay

      Hi again Talmon! Happy to see you commenting here!

      It was really just an interesting thought, which is why I had it put into the interview. There are and have been VoIP and messaging apps implemented in video game systems in the past and it seems like a natural extension beyond mobile devices. It really wouldn’t be a deal breaker if it was left out, but additional, stand apart features for video game systems are always great, even if they’ve got to be paid for.

      It’s like having a computer version of Viber. You have a phone, or a tablet, so why have a computer version? It goes back to how customers want to use their devices. They want apps they love on an assortment of devices and be able to seemlessly chat with friends wherever they may be.

      I’m not saying it should be available for the 3DS, but it’s an interesting thought, and interesting concept, and something that no other VoIP/messaging company has attempted to do yet.

      • Harrrrrrrrrrold

        Whoa.

    • wpuser111

      For god sake plz release the much needed update fr wp8….

      • http://www.viber.com/ Viber

        Hi,

        We’re working around the clock to bring our fans the new WP8 update.
        Please bear in mind that like all Viber releases, we feel obligated to thoroughly test Viber, ensuring we don’t release a half-baked version.

        We apologize for the delay, and we hope to bring you good news soon :)

        • BlokeForHire

          I havent had the chance to try it but is Viber bluetooth compatible on WP?

          • http://www.viber.com/ Viber

            Unfortunately Viber is not officially compatible with Bluetooth yet.

            This is also something we plan to implement in future versions.

          • BlokeForHire

            Awesome. Took me awhile to reply. I’ve been reading TruTower but haven’t signed in in awhile so didnt know you posted.

            Thanks for the clarification! Hopefully you guys will sign up for the TruTower Forums that are launching soon so we can still chat. I understand the Disqus comment system is going to be switched over to a TruTower system that will also be compatible with the forums, according to the Forums page found in the top navigation bar.

    • BlokeForHire

      Wow that would be interesting and cool for us gamers. The PS Vita has Skype so having Viber on 3Ds does kind of make sense

  • Zultan The Englishman

    Wow Josh, you’ve been really rolling out the Viber articles lately. Not bad.

    • http://www.trutower.com/author/josh_nay/ Josh Nay

      Thanks! :)

      • http://www.viber.com/ Viber

        Yes, thank you Josh ;)

        • http://www.trutower.com/author/josh_nay/ Josh Nay

          My pleasure!

          • BlokeForHire

            Josh your doing awesome. Every time I come back here Im seeing new apps and cant wait til you build your forums!

          • http://www.trutower.com/author/josh_nay/ Josh Robert Nay

            Thanks BlokeForHire!

            I want to add forums very soon, just trying to figure out the best way to implement them into the flow of the website :)

  • Anna Rebtel

    Great interviewJosh!

    • http://www.trutower.com/author/josh_nay/ Josh Robert Nay

      Thank you Anna! :)