Opinion - The Internet probably could have gone without another website designed to do nothing more than play old reruns of “Mary Tyler Moore”, clips from “The Steve Colbert Show”, and recaps of “The Hills”. Unfortunately, that is exactly what Joost, the overly hyped up Internet video service is ready to deliver.
Today, Joost re-launched as a flash based virtual video hub that offers free, advertisement supported television programming and films. Joost is now officially a clone of Hulu.com, one of the most popular streaming video sites that is owned by both Fox and NBC.
Created by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis (the creators of Kazaa and Skype) two years ago, Joost originally required visitors to download a rather large software application that most people instantaneously abandoned following the install. The new site abandons peer-to-peer distribution and goes with flash-based streaming video instead. In terms of content, Joost features full length television programming from CBS, Warner Brothers Television Group, and Viacom. Users will have access to music videos, MTV television programming, and even a sizeable selection of movies.
And yes, you guessed it, the site also offers social networking features: Users can share their favorite shows with friends.
The majority of the material being offered by Joost can be found in other areas on the Web as well. In an attempt to compete with the content on YouTube and Hulu, Joost will have to build its stash of exclusive material. CEO Mike Volpi, a former Cisco executive, who recently restructured Joost, closed most regional offices and laid off most of the firm’s 180 people, believes that the company has a chance to establish itself as an alternative Internet partner for media companies that aren’t fond of Google.
Joost’s revamp is interesting, but the site does not really offer much in the form of anything different than we have already seen from other companies. It seems that the once most promising Internet TV site has been left in the dust by the competition and now has to play catch up and find its place in a niche.