Joost Trying to Play Catch Up

    September 5, 2008
    Chris Crum

As online video (particularly online TV) grows in popularity, at least one provider has been left in the rear view mirror. Joost, which excited many people upon its launch, isn’t so exciting anymore.


Hulu has been getting a lot of attention lately, as it climbs up the charts. This is especially helped by the fact that they are even giving users TV shows before they air on real TV. Amazon just started streaming thousands of titles through Amazon Video On Demand. Netflix is being streamed right into television sets through the popular XBox gaming console. And nobody’s completely forgotten about YouTube.

Joost is beginning to realize that they need to do something to keep themselves in the game. They have now decided to ditch their desktop client, an application that users had to download in order to view programming, in favor of a simpler browser plug-in that will let users simply watch videos online.

"Joost isn’t the only startup to give up backing solely the client," says Om Malik at GigaOm. "Veoh and Jaman adopted a browser-and-client strategy, which has helped boost their audience." Joost is no doubt hoping for a similar effect for their own business as the market has been flooded with other options for viewers to find stuff to watch.

One of the reasons Joost has fallen behind in the first place is a lack of content, which shouldn’t really be an issue considering they have struck deals with CBS, Viacom, and even Major League Baseball. For some reason, these partnerships haven’t propelled Joost to the status of what such backing would suggest.

"Considering Hulu is backed by News Corp and NBC Universal, it’s doubtful Joost will be able to do much to improve its catalog either, since Hulu’s huge competitive advantage is its access to content," says Mashable’s Adam Ostrow. "Making things even worse, Joost’s own investor and partner CBS has many shows available on its website that are nowhere to be found on Joost."

CSI on CBS Website

For that matter, you can even find links to CBS shows on Hulu. If Joost wants to truly compete, they’re going to have to do something about problems like this. Making the move to the browser is probably a good step in the right direction, but it’s going to take a lot more than that.

Update: TechCrunch is showing screenshots and video of the new Joost.