When I worked for MySQL Professional Services, we started doing this, and it was very effective. We had a weekly conference call, and we would open a Skype multi user chat at the same time. In fact, often more interesting content and information was in the chat than was in the voice call. I think we only did the voice call because our manager liked it.
This technique works well for larger realspace meetings as well. At the IETF meetings, there is a Jabber room at jabber.ietf.org for every meeting, wg, and bof
And at other work meetings, I've opened up one on one and multiway IMs with other people sitting at the table, and it was often very productive.
This is an "innovation" that soon will become ubiquiously invisible, as we get more and more workers who were students sitting in lecture calls IMing back and forth to each other while listening to the professor.