Monday, May 14, 2007

Big Studio Involvement in Online Video Takes a Step Forward

Joost Boost Worth $45 Million (free registration required)

The concern over Big Media's ability to control distribution of their content online should be more possible with the launch of Joost, the new online TV-cum-social networking start-up that is sure to get more blessing (and money) as they evolve. Not only have they received money from CBS and Viacom in this round, but they already have content agreements in place with
Warner Music, National Geographic, Turner Broadcasting, The Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, CNN, Hasbro, the NHL, Sports Illustrated and Sony Pictures Television.

This looks like the VOD model they've been talking about for 15 or so years, only online instead of through your cable or satellite provider. The key differences between Joost and GoogleTube are (1) Professional media companies provide the content, not regular folks; and (2) it will focus on long-form programming (half-hour-plus), as opposed to short-form videos (under 15 minutes).

The key to this taking off, in my view, is the ability to watch Joost through your TV set, the ultimate lean-back medium, as opposed to watching it through your computer, a lean-forward medium. This will get easier as HDMI connections on TVs and ever-faster broadband Internet connections become more common. I'm not positive how fast the video stream has to be for the quality to approximate current 525-line standards, let alone HD, but it has to be faster than current 384 kbps standard.