Seems this past week i’m in lucky streak! After the earlier pre-release arrival of the new Arcade Fire’s album, i got my invitation to join Joost. For those of you that haven’t heard about this application, it’s a software that uses peer-to-peer software to watch TV and video over the web.
Niklas ZennstrÃ¶m and Janus Friis, founders of Skype and Kazaa, have invested in the development of Joost since their selling of Skype to eBay. Now they’re ready for the next big thing and serious YouTube contender, bringing video to your computer without having to browse through websites.
After you download (9.6 MB) and install the software, you enter Joost main interface – quite familiar to Mac users – with 4 menu overlays, clockwise: Channel id, My Joost, Control bar and My Channels.
You can choose from a list of channels that are expected to expand, since Viacom and Joost entered into a content provider agreement last February 20, and i predict that many others will follow.
While on the selected channel, you go to fullscreen video, with the interface no longer visible. To view it again, the user has to rollover the edges of the screen, making it visible again. You can get channel overlays, with descriptions and on some of them there were pre-roll ads.
One of the thrilling aspects on Joost – as an advertising professional – are the opportunities it enables. Now you can target individual users with custom advertising, that will surely be way to get premium channels. Imagine, HBO distributing The Sopranos on a pre-roll video ad. I’m positive that most users wouldn’t mind that at all.
The most promising area on Joost might be MyJoost, offering a message board, a newsticker (a basic RSS reader), a rating mechanism and a chat application (available to Jabber and Gmail accounts), that could finally provide a REAL interactive TV. Channels would get instant feedback of users or provide online shopping to a product placement . Since a user is already in “entertainment mode”, it makes all the sense to provide more tools for similar activities.
As a former interactive TV developer, i’ve noticed that the main thing that bothered users were the lame remote controls and keyboard, no longer a minus on the computer where we’re familiar with our navigation interfaces.
Overall, i find Joost a great application and on it’s way to become the media center we all needed, and perhaps the iTunes of video, closing the gap between media networks and internet users.