Michael Volpi must either have a great plan for innovation this year, or he must be feeling like the walls are closing in.
Joost started the race for Internet TV way before everyone else with a product unlike any other, with the promise of unprecedented flexibility on targeted ads so the advertisers would get the best bang for their buck.
However it seems like way too many people have jumped on the Internet TV space, with many different and innovative approaches.
During the last weeks, I’ve started noticing how some big players are merging with Hulu.com’s embeddable content and how some of them are trying to get into your living room.
Last year I told David Clark, North American VP of Joost at the NY Video Meetup that many people have said that Joost should create a Set-Top Box device, or to partner up with a TV manufacturer and get Joost on the TV, but probably one of the things they’ve not thought about is to port Joost into an Xbox Live downloadable application and make a deal with Microsoft. Of course this was in front of hundreds of people and he just gave me a politically correct answer and went on.
If I could have a chance to talk to Michael Volpi, I’d suggest a couple of crazy ideas, which have been implemented during the past week by no other than Microsoft, Veoh.com, and the Big G.
Microsoft and Veoh started embedding Hulu.com’s content on their video websites. It seems to me that Joost, being a XULRunner application, can do anything a web page can do, including the embedding of flash players such as Hulu’s.
Hulu might be their #1 competitor, and it seems to me that they got the best content of all the video websites, and they can offer it at no cost to the end viewer (ad sponsored). If I were Volpi, I’d take a crazy chance and start a new line up of Hulu based channels. There’s no way to get around the commercial insertion points that Hulu will show, but at least he would keep the audience within the application, giving him more P2P uptime to share content, and at the same time he could even overlay some ads on top of that content.
It sucks that there’s nothing really worth watching in Joost and if there is, it’s a pain in the ass to discover the good stuff. Instead you go to Hulu.com and you find things organized by Show, not channels. (Joost should have a way to browse content by show, season, episodes, not like 100 CBS channels with the same logo). In Hulu you’ll find the stuff everyone is watching, Heroes, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and the list goes on.
It’s a tough world getting the content, and I think Joost should start making some headlines soon, they must be running out of funding, after all it was only like 40mill they got last year, and rumors say they have over 100 people between NY and Europe, add to that bandwidth and operational costs and the money leaks.
So they’ve not made their content embeddable, probably cause they haven’t made up their minds on whether to be real imaginative on how to implement P2P on the flash player, or to create their own browser plugin (which should be included when you download the client now, so that you can start creating momentum, but would turn probably into another Real Player, vs Quicktime, vs Media Player pain in the ass), or to bite the bullet and start distributing both embeddable (Flash Player based) and Joost P2P content.
As if all this wasn’t enough, then you have Microsoft with the Xbox already on the living rooms implementing IPTV of their own, and with another device, totaling a significant potential 10 million subscribers, and Panasonic announcing the development of a new TV that will allow you to watch Internet Video provided by Google (YouTube)
The company isn’t mine and I feel stressed about it, I hope they have a good plan, right now the content they have does not compel me to close whatever I’m doing to start watching in full screen or even with a tiny window anything. If anything I’ll gladly watch Joost on my living room, but it needs to be convenient.
Volpi, come up with a Joost Branded TV, A Set-Top-Box, A wireless streaming device, something! but you need to get on the living room, the content you have is not worth switching all my working tasks to watch Joost for over 10 minutes, and that way you won’t get me to see any ads. In the meantime get us some good content, get us South Park you already got Comedy Central, beg some more and get South Park, get HBO, put Hulu content in it, make Joost the symbol of watching TV on the computer or I don’t see Joost for 2009.