Viacom seems to have cooled on Joost; is it headed to the Deadpool?

joost logoIt looks as though the once high-and-mighty Joost is running out of juice.

Joost, the peer-to-peer Internet TV service that once raised $45 million in 2006 from investors such as CBS, Viacom, and Sequoia Capital Index Ventures, is revamping its tech platform [last100] with a Web-based service that requires only a plug-in to play in browsers. It’s due sometime this summer.

Currently Joost requires a downloaded desktop client to play peer-to-peer content. It works with Microsoft operating systems XP and Vista and Apple’s OS X (but Intel processors only).

The Web plug-in is clearly a move to stay afloat and relative amid the success of an online streaming site like Hulu, but two of Joost’s biggest investors, CBS and Viacom, have little to say about the service these days.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman was less than enthusiastic about Joost in an interview with paidContent, which asked: “Is the service where he [Dauman] thought it would be?”

“We come at Joost or any other platforms from the point of view that we cannot predict — nor did we in that case or any other case — predict which ones are going to be hugely successful, moderately successful, which won’t work,” he said.

OK then.

joostAs for Joost, Dauman said, “They’ve been trying different things. “They’ve been tweaking the model but we’ve certainly been happy with the relationship.”

Nothing like the avoidance jig.

Will Viacom invest in round two? PaidContent doesn’t think so, leaving Joost’s future and ability to raise second-round funding uncertain.

“We did receive equity in connection with our original deal and we’re happy where we are,” Dauman said. “I don’t think it’s fair to them for me to comment.”

So much for a glowing endorsement.

Investors like CBS and Viacom aside, another sign of Joost’s imminent Deadpool status comes from consumers who were once enthusiastic about Joost’s service and potential. Now they’re saying things on various blogs like:

“It [Joost] is like soooo 20 minutes ago. Hulu is much better.”


“Joost — that was so Thursday.”


“I have it installed on my laptop but I don’t think I’ve used it in the past 6 months. Thanks for the reminder to un-install.”


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last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

4 Responses to “Viacom seems to have cooled on Joost; is it headed to the Deadpool?”

  1. Kenneth M says:

    i think i heard of joost before. a plugin would be better than downloading and installing more stuff to be honest.

  2. Kenneth M says:

    i hope the plugin won’t require you to make an account like the installer

  3. Shane says:

    The technology for Joost is pretty nifty. I don’t think requiring a desktop app is a deal breaker either. It’s actually nice to use. The problem for everyone _outside_ the US is that too much content is locked up based on geographic boundaries.

    If you can’t provide a good unified consumer experience, you’re going to be doomed to failure in the end. I’d love to use Joost more but the Asia/Pacific content is almost uniformly crap (the wrong type of unified consumer experience).

    The downfall of Joost as a global IPTV player will be because Joost was unable to strike any decent global distribution deals.

  4. Lynxx Lancer says:

    I’ve been using Joost since Beta.. and I can say it’s good.. They have many updates and more shows are added weekly (or isn’t it monthly).

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