Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Point, Joost

Very interesting news today about Viacom making a content deal with Joost, aka The Venice Project. What Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis did with music, and then voice, they're now doing with video. I've been following this lately, and today's announcement says a lot about where video is going, and it's not YouTube's way.

Joost's model is very different from YouTube, and if what they say/do is true, they won't have issues about copyright and content length that I think will make all the difference for a successful business model. I'm sure these are the reasons why Viacom couldn't make a deal with YouTube and Google, and may well set a precedent for the types of content YouTube will ultimately be able to attract beyond what users generate themselves. I really don't see much money in the user-generated model, but if anyone can monetize it, it's Google.

Feature length movies and TV programming is another matter altogether. Advertising goes hand-in-hand with these media, and Joost's peer-to-peer architecture seems by far to be the best model for distribution, scale and control.

There's SO much more to talk about here, but I just wanted to get the word out, as I haven't seen it on the blogs yet, other than IP Democracy, which basically shares my view.

As much as I'm a fan of YouTube, I find it hard to bet against Niklas and Janus (and for the record, I do own eBay shares), and with news like this, I'd say point, Joost.

Related sidebar - it's interesting how today we're hearing about how Sirius and XM want/need to merge to survive. It sure didn't take long in that space - maybe Howard Stern should buy them both. I'm sure we'll see similar things unfold with VoIP and video. When the market grows more slowly than expected, customer acquisition costs remain very high, popular and proven alternatives already exist, and you have competing standards for devices, it's not hard to fathom how this can happen. Sounds like a familiar scenario, doesn't it?

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