Just Joost for Viacom

20 Feb ’07

Viacom is apparently negotiating with Joost to host its video content there, now that it’s off YouTube. An interesting competitive approach by Joost – presumably to go to the mainstream content providers and offer them a cut right out of the gate – playing softball, essentially, to YouTube’s hardball. Or more accurately, acting as the technology provider that the content folks couldn’t or won’t create for themselves.

Marshall Kirkpatrick worries about end of YouTube’s monopoly (an angle that Scott Karp wrote about recently) – “It would be a real loss to the world if the two tiers of creativity, professional and user generated, were forever bifurcated in different distribution channels … The emergence of viable online alternatives like Joost could spell trouble for any hopes that we will soon be able to watch Beavis & Butthead and Chad Vader all in one convenient location.” – a sentiment that Jeff Jarvis seemed to echo a few days ago.

For my part, I like the idea of new models and approaches emerging – it’s far too early to know what’s possible. Having one online video site seems to me a little like having one TV network – there should be room for multiple approaches, and going to multiple sites for different content shouldn’t be any more troublesome for video than it is for any other content, I suppose. Mathew seems to agree that Joost could give YouTube a run for its money. Henry Blodget frames it as clips vs shows, though I see no reason why Joost couldn’t show clips as well – their choice, I suppose – and wonders why anyone would want to watch TV shows on their computer (answer – because it’s there – whenever you want, where you want it – that’s the point, isn’t it?).

In any event, I’m struck both by how fast YouTube grew and was sold, and how quickly serious competitors and new approaches are emerging. $1.6 billion will do that, I suppose. Another day, another revolution, and this one is being televised. Update: CNet has more detail, Reuters too.

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