Saturday, April 21, 2007

Finally we have online TV: Joost

I just got my joost beta trial after waiting for almost a month and the half, and it was definitely worth the wait. Joost is interactive online TV created by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis (founders of Skype and Kazaa).

Joost includes a small software that you download (free) allowing you to access a multitude of TV channels with hundreds of shows (free), all available in good quality full screen viewing; and yes it works on regular broadband networks (I have a 512k and it works very well). As opposed to YouTube it provides continuous viewing just like regular TV you can choose to watch a channel, or even search for a show and after you finish watching that show you continue watching the regular programs on the selected channel. The idea behind joost is that people watch TV as a continuously and sometimes just like to play it in the background. It also includes the conventional web 2.0 gadgets namely rating, search, chat and instant messaging, so you find shows, discuss, and recommend. Joost currently offers the following

My experience has been incredible so far, there are some very interesting programs, including bite sized entertainment that I watch during downloads or when I only have a few minutes.
The most intriguing feature I saw was targeted advertising. Just as conventional TV joost makes its money through advertising; what was particularly different though was ad placement, I was watching a short movie called ‘The Beautiful Lie’ in which there is a scene with a girl putting on mascara. As the camera pans on the girl’s eyelashes, the film cuts to a ‘Maybelline’ mascara TV ad. Other interesting placements included ads for ‘Garnier’ shampoo on hair shots. Other ads include still screens of ‘brought to you by xxx’ before certain clips or movies but I felt that those were annoying – as waiting 4 seconds or so on a still screen is somewhat irritating and feels like the brands did not want to put in an effort to advertise so they just supplied their logos.

Joost is the most advanced example I have witnessed on both convergence and and web 2.0, because it mixes TV and the internet seamlessly, and unlike most start-ups it has a very well studied business plan / business model. It also does not infringe on any copyrights which seems to be a major deterrent amongst such companies. At the same time unlike Skype, it does not use the infrastructure of the very industry it is replacing (skype uses the phone network to make internet-to-phone calls, whereas skype only uses the TV content and not the broadcasting network/infrastructure) which makes the setup much less bureaucratic/political.
As for radical transparency, joost has its own

Sign-up for a beta trial now!

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