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Joost struggling in burgeoning web TV market
April 8, 2008, 10:34 am
Filed under: hulu, iPlayer, Joost, online TV | Tags: , , ,

Once the darling of web TV, Joost is apparently struggling and according to James Ashton at The Times, is planning a retreat after failing to attract enough users and worthwhile broadcasting rights. Ashton claims that Joost is set to refocus its ambitions from global domination, to just the US market.

Joost launched last year and enjoyed a monumental wave of popularity and hype courtesy of it being ‘The Next Big Thing’ from Skype founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. With A-list backing it didn’t have to try hard to stir up a major buzz, but what it needed to do was follow through the very astute viral and seeding process with quality content that users would want to watch. I’ve played extensively with Joost and while it’s a nice, slick piece of software and is fun to play with from that perspective, there simply isn’t the content that can keep you glued to your screen.

The Web TV market is burgeoning. According to a new report published this week, the web-based TV viewing audience is growing steadily and now nearly one in ten of all broadcast and cable TV shows in the US are being viewed online. The authors of the report, the Convergence Consulting Group estimate that 9 per cent of all full-episode TV viewing was done online in 2007, 50 per cent more than in 2006 and expects that to grow to 14 per cent in 2008, 19 per cent in 2009 and almost a quarter of all viewing in 2010.

The consumer demand is there – and of the tens of web TV services to be launched in the past year, the stand out winners have been BBC’s iPlayer in the UK and News Corp/NBC’s Hulu in America. The secret to their success? Rights and access to content that is at least as good as what is available on traditional television.

So what now for Joost? unless it’s happy to become a niche player in the US, it will need to imminently align very closely with a major content owner. And for the rest of the market? well in the UK at least, nobody has yet taken on the challenge of convincing the marketing and advertising community of the opportunities and effectiveness of web TV as a channel to carry their messages – whoever manages to align themselves first as the leader and expert on web TV advertising stands to gain big-time.

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