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Education Featured Article

May 20, 2009

Oprah Takes Skype to New Heights

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor


Oprah Winfrey this week is taking viewers on a journey around the world. But no passports are required thanks to Skype (News - Alert), an increasingly popular online videoconferencing service.




 
On May 21, The Oprah Winfrey Show will dedicate a full episode entitled "Where the Skype Are You?” During the hour-long show, Winfrey’s audience will enjoy a glimpse of icebergs in Antarctica. What’s more, they will also explore the depths of the deep blue sea in a submarine.
 
The special episode is part of an ongoing partnership Winfrey forged with Skype, an eBay (News - Alert)-owned VOIP service, to showcase its service.  During the show, Josh Silverman, Skype’s president, will talk about the service. In addition, the talk show maven will also feature a video chat with a Virgin American attendant en route from Seattle to Los Angeles. Fans can check out a video promoting the show.

 
"Hosting a chat from a plane at 37,000 feet to Oprah Winfrey in her studio is a fun example of how Virgin America is embracing technology and meeting the needs of consumers who want to stay connected,” said Porter Gale, vice president of marketing for Virgin America, in a statement.
 
During the last year, Skype has worked with Winfrey to host face-to-face talks with celebrities and ordinary people anywhere, and at anytime. Winfrey recently aired an interview via Skype with a bear. That’s right, a bear.
 
And Winfrey keeps her audience guessing as to who, or what, she’ll have on the show next. That’s the beauty of the software application.
 
The partnership between Winfrey and Skype is an ideal match. Winfrey can take advantage of the new technology and bring viewers amazing interviews. Meanwhile, Skype enjoys the publicity and the big name of one of television’s most powerful women to back its service.
 
“For the past year, Skype has enabled The Oprah Winfrey Show to talk face-to-face with anybody, anywhere, at anytime,” writes Jennifer Caukin at Skype. “We've been tremendously inspired watching Oprah use Skype video to connect with everyday people, celebrities, and even animals on her show. This week, we're expecting to see Oprah push the limits with Skype even further.”
 
Skype, which launched in 2006, lets users make telephone calls over the Internet. Calls made to other users of the service are free. While there is a fee to make calls to landlines and mobile phones, the free service seems to be catching on.
 
The latest venture comes after eBay announced last month it plans to sell the popular Internet calling service within a year. As TMC (News - Alert) reported, Skype doesn’t align closely enough with eBay and PayPal’s models and would work better as a stand-alone business.
 
Beyond Internet calling, Skype also recently announced its Skype for iPhone (News - Alert) application, which brings the service’s calling and instant messaging to any iPhone, TMC reported.



Edited by Amy Tierney


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