Starting up a business with the idea of tricking the tv industry is a formidable plan to say the least. That’s exactly what Joost is aiming to do. Joost, which is currently in beta, is aiming to bring full-screen streaming television to your personal computer. As of now, many television companies are providing high quality downloads of their shows via Itunes, as well as providing streaming versions of their shows in lower quality via their websites. With all the hype surrounding Joost I was fairly skeptical. To be honest I still am. Joost is furiously signing agreements with major media companies including MTV, Comedy Central, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, CNN, and others. What I’m really trying to grasp is why on earth these companies are signing agreements with Joost. Well I’ve concluded that the answer is quite simple.
Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis are about to successfully pull off one of the biggest fear driven deals in history. After successfully launching and selling one of the world’s largest peer to peer networks, Kazaa, Zennstrom and Friis are sparking fear throughout the television industry. The television industry has witnessed the music industry suffer a catastrophic downfall in their sales and they don’t want to be next. Unfortunately, early warning signs suggest they may be next. As a result, many mainstream video content providers are rushing to sign deals with the up and coming Joost. The big guys aren’t the only ones signing on and that is part of the reason that they are scared. On Monday, Joost announced a partnership with Heavy.com to provide content for three channels on Joost. What I find to be phenomenal though is how the large media companies have been practically tricked in to signing agreements.
Would Joost be able to survive solely on user-generated video? I doubt it. They need real content if they are going to truly become the internet based television. Given that YouTube is currently the largest source of user-generated video and there is no way they will sign a deal with Joost, what edge does Joost truly have when it comes down to it? Fear. That is all I can conclude. By creating a magnificent amount of buzz surrounding their pre-beta release, and now beta-release they appear as a threatening entity to the television industry. Honestly I think it is all hype. Why would mainstream media want to give someone else a cut of the pie when they could go develop the technology themself? If Joost keeps the hype going and can successfully snatch up agreements with a few other critical partners they may just succeed, but their success is truly reliant upon the remaining partners. Without the overwhelming support of a currently threatened industry, their odds for success are pretty low. Ultimately we will have to wait and see what happens, but my opinion is Joost is frantically trying to acquire partners before it’s too late. If they can get enough partners while all the buzz is going on then they might have a shot, otherwise I see a bleak future ahead.