Skype is rolling out advertising in its Windows client in a move that will give it a third revenue stream.
In a blog post, Skype said it will begin launching ads in its home tab this week. The company said it is in the process of tweaking ads as it learns more.
Overall, Skype has put together a nice roster of advertisers that includes Groupon, Universal Pictures and Visa. These ads will show up in the U.S., U.K and Germany. Skype went through great pains to prevent any backlash. For instance, Skype noted users could opt out and that ads "won't interrupt your Skype experience."
My guess is users will be forgiving. Most free instant messaging clients have advertising. In the big picture, Skype will have three revenue models:
- Fees for calls;
- Business and enterprise usage;
- And advertising.
Calls pay the bills today, the enterprise represents future growth and advertising is gravy. If you're interested in Skype's likely IPO, the advertising revenue is welcome.
To that end Skype filed its latest prospectus on Friday. Among the key details:
- Skype had 663 million registered users as of Dec. 31.
- Of that group, 145 million were active.
- And 8.8 million Skype users were paying customers.
In addition, Skype detailed its 2010 results. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2010, Skype reported a net loss of $6.9 million on revenue of $859.8 million. In 2009, Skype had a net loss of $368.8 million on revenue of $718.9 million. Those figures include Skype's results before being spun off from eBay and the successor company.