Jalipo is a browser-based Internet TV service which offers on-demand (TV shows and movies) and live broadcasts on a minute by minute “pay as you go” basis. This, the company claims, will help encourage producers to offer more of their content online because it will “stimulate the world of PC owners to discover, enjoy, and gently learn to pay a little for TV…” Micro-payments have worked for things like ring-tones and SMS text messaging, so why can’t it work for online video, the company argues.
After signing up to Jalipo, you’re given 200 free J:Credits (although I only seemed to get 20) so that you can start watching content right away, after which, you’ll need to pull out your credit card to top up your account. For about $10 you can buy just under 1000 credits, which at the low bit-rate option will give you just over 13 hours of viewing time, depending on the content.
The service offers a number of viewing options in terms of picture quality / bit-rate, which increase in price accordingly. In my test, I found the lowest bit-rate to offer a pretty poor viewing experience — which, although comparable to YouTube — didn’t sit well with the fact that I was actually paying for it! However, the highest bit-rate was perfectly viewable at full-screen, but obviously eats up more credit.
Content-wise, I couldn’t find much worth watching, and the only titles that I was familiar with were Al Jazeera TV and BBC World.
I’m not convinced that a minute-by-minute credit system is the right way to sell online video. If the content is worth watching, it’s probably worth watching till the end, and should be sold as a complete offering. Instead, Jalipo feels too much like making an over-seas phone call. You’re constantly thinking about the cost and wondering if you can justify staying online for much longer. Ad-supported platforms such as Joost and Babelgum, and paid-for downloads offered through iTunes and Unbox, makes a whole lot more sense.