I read with interest about a new technology called Joost (pronounced ‘juiced’) and its co-founders Janus Friis (30) and Niklas Zennstrom (40) in the March 12th issue of Time magazine. These guys have some huge technology achievements under their young, snazzy belts. In 2001 they launched Skype, the first internet – powered telephony service which they recently sold to eBay for $2.6 billion. In 2001 they pioneered one of the first music file sharing network services, Kazaa, simultaneously breaking new ground and moving the discussion forward on existing copyright laws. Talk about brain power squared. I got excited when I figured out how to imbed video clips into my PowerPoint presentation this week.
The Joost beta program launches in the next few weeks and has industry observers buzzing. Why? For one thing, they’re calling it a notable milestone in broadcast convergence that succeeds where others failed – streaming broadcast quality content onto the desktop PC. The other reason is the raft of believers – top notch providers who’ve signed agreements to deliver content including Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon), Paramount and JumpTV, the world’s largest distributor of international TV stations with more than 270 stations in 70 countries.
Lean Back and Watch.
With user generated content (UGC) spaces, the user is asked to sort and click through hours of video clips and features. The accompanying advertising is framed around the content or tucked inside (remember the bridezilla meltdown on YouTube?) By contrast, Joost tells its users simply to ‘lean back and watch’ – much like what us TV sofa jockeys do today.
If you liked that…
I downloaded and installed the beta software (it will be free when launched and requires no hardware) and had the service running in about five minutes. The interface is clean and the controls are easy to use. The up/down menu lets you change content channels and access other features in the "widget menu" like news, instant messaging (SK8TR turn to channel 127 NOW!!!) or content scoring. And Joost can monitor your viewing preferences over time and suggest content options – a popular feature that online sites like Amazon already do – “if you liked that, you’ll love this…, etc.”
The advertising I’ve seen so far is similar to the sponsored content model on today's TV. But moving forward the service will be a laboratory where advertisers and agencies develop, monitor and measure in real time, the effectiveness of their new message formats and approaches. If Joost is a hit, look for ways to measure the medium not even contemplated yet.
Interactive, targeted TV is a promise we’ve already heard. But this time Joost might have the right mix of technology, content and usability working for both marketer and consumer. Plus, everyone is always eager to see innovation in the current 50 year old broadcast model. I for one will be watching, of course from the comfort of my channel surfing sofa.
To learn more visit their website, http://www.joost.com.