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July 31, 2009

Free TV Has Juiced the Internet with Joost and its Competitors

Filed under: Start-up Companies Reviews — admin @ 2:08 am

For the past decade, the internet has become the major source of media for the majority of the population in the United States and Europe, as well as in other parts of the world. Furthermore, since the majority of the American people have had access to the internet in the mid 1990s, the internet has graduated from the slow 56k modem connection to the super-fast broadband connection of today. As the internet is able to traffic more information with a much larger bandwidth faster, many websites have started with videos and internet television. Internet television was first pioneered by Youtube, but after that all kinds of TV websites have appeared on the web. In 2006, Joost was launched as a website that shows videos and TV shows and allows you to view videos and even share them with your friends. You can even share videos with your friends on Facebook with Joost.

Joost is currently undergoing public beta testing and anyone can join Joost for free and the sign up process is amazingly easy. When you join Joost, first you need to type in a username, which must be at least four characters or numbers with no spaces. The nice thing about the sign up application on Joost is that it will point out anything filled out wrong in red lettering and if each field is filled out correctly, the lettering appears white. This is very convenient because it saves time because you can be sure that every field is filled out correctly before you hit the submit button. After you have chosen your username and Joost has accepted it, you need to type a password and reconfirm the password. After that, you need to type in your first and last name. You will also need to type in your zip code, and then hit the submit button and you’re in. Joost will send you an email to confirm your email promptly and before you get that email, your service with Joost is not affected.

Navigating and using the Joost website is also rather easy. You can also search for your friends who might be on Joost and Facebook and share videos with them on Joost. Joost also allows you to search for videos selected to your individual taste.

Joost is a privately owned company based in New York City and the company’s founder is Niklas Zennström, who was also the CEO and cofounder of Skype, one of the world’s largest IP phone and video conferencing services. Skype is not the only successful company that Mr. Zennström founded. Before founding Skype, he also founded other companies, including KaZa, which is a consumer file sharing network similar to Napster. Mr. Zennström also ran the European branch of Everyday.com as its CEO.

Some of the several successes that Joost has had since its founding include its partnership with Viacom. According to a press release on the company website, dated February 20, 2007 states that Viacom was to be a key content partner with Joost. Viacom is a large producer of TV shows and feature films. According to this article, Viacom is to provide its branded content of entertainment for free on Joost’s websites, which Joost users can view for free. The article further states that Joost is a service that combines the best quality internet TV for the new Web 2.0. Furthermore in that article, Philippe Dauman, CEO and President of Viacom stated that Viacom is very pleased to start a partnership with Joost.

In September of 2008, Joost began to offer UK viewers hundreds of hours of hit shows by sealing a partnership with ALL3MEDIA International. In an article, also on the company site, that is dated September 30, 2008, explains that with this partnership, Joost users in the United Kingdom will be able to view such shows as Peep Show, Shameless, Derren Brown, Ultimate Force, and much more. Furthermore, the article states that Joost is not just a website for viewing TV shows online, but the website also has a social networking feature that allows users to interact with each other and talk about the various TV shows that they have watched over the Joost network.

Recently, in an article dated June 30, 2009, Joost announced that it will be providing white label online videos on its website. The article further states that more and more media companies are looking for high quality internet video portals to show their premium content. Furthermore, Joost will have to rework its business practices to keep these partnerships. After reworking these partnerships and providing more solutions that will improve TV viewing online, Joost will commercially offer white paper video content online.

Joost’s investors include CBS, Inc.; Index Ventures, Li Ka Shing Foundation, Sequoia Capital, and Viacom. All of the above investors all took part in a gigantic series A funding of $45 million in May of 2007.

CBS, Inc. is one of the largest broadcasting networks in the United States and has a large selection of hit shows. CBS partners with Joost and many of its videos are featured on Joost’s website.

Index Ventures is a vc firm that invests mainly in IT companies that represent a good investment opportunity. The team at Index Ventures is a group of dedicated entrepreneurs who built the vc firm up brick by brick. Some other companies in Index’s portfolio include 7TM, AlertMe, Betfair, Boku, DoubleTwist, King.com, Love Candy, and others.

The Li Ka Shing Foundation is a fund that was created by Mr. Li Ka Shing, who is the chairman of Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited. Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited is actually a branch of the Cheung Kong Group and is based in Hong Kong. The Li Ka Shing Foundation is a charitable organization that is based on Mr. Shing’s belief on how to form a successful equitable society. According to Mr. Shing, an equitable society can only be founded when every individual in that society is ready, willing and able to do his or her part.

Sequoia Capital is a global vc firm with its headquarters in Menlo Park, California and also has offices in China, India, and Israel. Sequoia Capital was built by some of the best known successful entrepreneurs, who include Steve Jobbs, of Apple; Larry Ellison, of Oracle; Bob Swanson, of Linear Technology, and others. Some other companies in Sequoia’s portfolio include Zappos.com, Afara, AMCC, AdMob, eHarmony, and others.

Viacom is one of the world’s leading entertainment content company, which generates all kind of prime-time entertainment brands. Some of the brands under the Viacom name include Media Networks, MTV, BET, TV Land, Spike TV, VH1, and others. Viacom invests and partners with companies that can be of good interest for the large media company.

Joost does have some competitors, but the biggest competitor is Hulu. Like Joost, Hulu is an online video sharing site which believes in bringing in premium entertainment to the masses. Hulu was founded in Los Angeles, California, and has six people on its management team.

For more information about Joost, click here.

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