I've been writing this post in my head for some time now and it's high time I post it. There is a lot of hype around the new video service Joost. The problem is, after using it pretty extensively, I don't get the hype. I can't stomach the kool aid. The product has a contemporary, web2ish look about it, it has some good content in the channels, but some things aren't sitting right with me. Let me explain.
First and foremost, can anybody tell me why the service is delivered through a standalone application. This drives me insane. The technology driving the web has evolved enough that making people download another application to watch the content seems absurd. The chances of me installing the application are pretty good, but like many, many other apps I will soon forget about it. My web browser is becoming my hub for content. If you're not delivering through the browser you're losing me as a customer. Lots of companies are delivering through the brower. YouTube or course, Jalipo and blip just to name a couple, but Joost lacks the social networking options those sites have.
Second, the content is good, but I can get most of it on time-shifted TV through Tivo or through other video sharing sites or by going direct to the provider. Joost is signing deals with those content providers, but I think they're trying to position themselves as the cable company when they're really just a MTV. They're aggregating other produced content, but unlike MTV they're not adding new value. The content providers see Joost as another distribution point in their digital strategy, but it's not the only player. Where is the user generated content? Users are creating high quality content that, for the moment, seems to be locked out of Joost's model.
Third, the quality of the video in Joost is not that great. It's certainly not TV quality and is right on par with YouTube (see my first question). They're alleging themselves the new TV for the web. Why are they recreating the TV? This is the Internet. The TV model has issues. Issues which could be solved with some new thinking. This is just a re-package of what we've seen to date. Yes it looks shiny, but like many things web2.0 looks can be deceiving. My big question is how will I get Joost to the TV when I want it?
Finally, Joost is relying on a passé advertising models which users may be less inclined to accept. Paul McEnany and I seem to have BSP on this one. Technology allows for innovation. Innovation in content and delivery. It allows ad networks to get creative and add real value to their clients. So what is Joost doing? They're pre-rolling 15 and 30 second spots in front of video clips. Didn't they get the memo about the death of the 30 second spot?
We're still early in Joost's history and there is certainly room to improve. Room I hope they take advantage of before somebody else knocks them out. Don't take my word for it though, see for yourself. I still have four tokens that will go to the first four people to email me. What are your thoughts? Anybody have another opinion?
[Update: All of the tokens are gone. People are definitely interested. I'll be anxious to see their take.]