Monetizing Free Video works better in the Living Room

Well over a year ago I asked a Joost executive why not use some of that money they recently had gotten in funding into going for the living room via Xbox or PS3. I got a politically correct answer about yes, we’ll do it eventually, but that’s not our focus right now.

In the meantime, Hulu was building their platform for the web, and 4 months later it was king of the hill. Joost then had to rethink their distribution and ditched their p2p client for an all Flash streaming based approach, which seems to start picking up traffic but the differences in the audience sizes are ridiculous. A tip for your current approach, and it has to be done a month ago: Allow non-signed users to watch your some of your content (short-clips), and allow for embedding, worked wonders for YouTube, it’d be awesome for all that niche oriented content you have. (Update Nov 22 2008: Joost has just released video embedding!)

But even though Hulu has almost 10 times more traffic now than Joost, it’s earnings are still a joke compared to the advertising earnings of Broadcast and Cable, it’s just peanuts. With Ad Spending going down, it would make sense to me as an advertiser to somehow stay in the living room, with cheaper CPM, and better targeting. Hulu & Joost on the Xbox could do that for me, if only they were available in the living room.

Netflix on the other hand, monetizes month to month, and they also saw the opportunity of getting to your living room in different ways. They’ve tried with their own $100 box, but I find the most interesting and convenient way to get an audience of at least 15 million people that spend hours and hours wasting their time in front of their TV playing video games (with barely any ads) in the Xbox console.
They give me as an Xbox Live customer yet another option to keep my Xbox Live subscription and think twice about getting the PS3 and ditching the Xbox live payments since my Netflix subscription gains added value cause I don’t have to plug my laptop anymore to the tv. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have all those Hulu and Joost shows there too?

Netflix has released their stream service this week via Xbox, and it’s exactly the way I suggested to Joost, make it a free download, negotiate with Microsoft an ad revenue agreement, I can think up so many business models from this partnership… I wish I had super powers.

In any case, pictures speak louder than words some times. I hope bizdevs at Hulu & Joost take a look at this and remotely consider this as a probably great channel for content distribution. This could be your chance to grow your audience several orders of magnite, just become a Microsoft Live developer and port your technology (wish it was as easily done as said, I know), Internet Video needs to compete in the living room, forget about mobile for now, the living room is here now.

See More pictures of my Xbox Live update experience.

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