Legal P2P For Fall TV? Fat Chance.


Remember the days when TV networks were afraid of P2P? Before Joost and Babelgum, when BitTorrent was considered evil and P2P streaming was only being done by piraters out of China?

A lot has changed since then. Joost has become the hip kid on the block and in turn, made P2P sexy again. Traditional content delivery networks like Akamai (AKAM) are starting to embrace P2P. Traditional broadcasters like the BBC are launching P2P-powered media players to deliver their content (and save some dough in the process). And file-sharing companies like BitTorrent and Azureus have begun to sell TV shows through their platforms.

Does that mean that the TV world is wholeheartedly embracing P2P? Not so fast. The reality is that most networks are still somewhat wary of distributed content delivery. Take the fall TV season that is starting this week: Heroes, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy won’t be available on any legal P2P platform, despite all the hype around Joost and its competitors.

Speaking of Joost: The company got some headlines earlier this year when it signed a deal with CBS, but the partnership with the network is suspiciously low profile. It’s almost like CBS (CBS) wants to test the waters without getting its feet wet. The Joost web site doesn’t even list the CBS channel, and the only way to find hit shows like CSI on Joost is to search for them. CBS does provide its latest installments of the crime drama on the P2P platform, along with shows like NCIS, Big Brother and Numb3rs. Joost also has some older content from Viacom (VIA.B), but the other big networks are completely absent, and it wasn’t able to provide any details about upcoming shows.

Industry insiders are arguing that some of the bigger networks have so far avoided Joost because of security concerns. Broadcasters seem to feel safer with traditional download stores. will feature new episodes from Fox and FX shows like Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Prison Break this fall. But again, shows from other big networks are conspicuously absent from the lineup.

Finally, there are some Showtime shows on, but that’s about it. The UK obviously has the BBC with its iPlayer, but in the U.S. it actually looks like the industry is moving away from P2P solutions. AOL used to distribute most of its TV content through its Hi-Q platform, which like the iPlayer is powered by VeriSign’s (VRSN) Kontiki P2P technology. Don’t expect Kontiki to carry the new CBS shows that will come to later this month, though. AOL recently hooked up with Hulu and as a result will just use whatever Flash video player its new partners are providing.

So what are most of the networks relying on, if not P2P? Studios like the CW, ABC and Univision are using browser-based players from companies like Move Networks and Maven Networks to optimize their streaming experience. There is no P2P involved in the process –- at least not yet. Maven VP of Product Development Todd Boes told me that their platform is CDN-agnostic and that Maven expects to support P2P once it becomes more reliable for on-demand streaming.

I guess Heroes fans might have to wait until season three to get their show delivered via P2P. If they want to get it legally, that is.



The audience sizes so far are so small that the extra ISP hassle of using P2P hasn’t been worth it. Furthermore for VoD P2P solutions like Joost offers there’s never that much of a bandwidth savings over traqditional CDNs. Come back in six or twelve months when the networks finally get sick of paying Akamai bills.

Matt Hendry

The Joost Website has never been the best source of info and is not updated very often . what I have Noticed the featured content is up on Joost on a monthly basis so maybe CBS will be featured in the US for October .Mark Volpi said in his Kara Swisher Interview that LOST and Survivor where going to be on Joost but that isn’t there yet either ;) …

I have never been a big fan of the Joost website and prefer to use Onthrtoob to search for Joost content …

Joost still make the content hard to search for your right hope they fix it with a upcoming version as promised!.html


P2P is a problem for the networks. Watch out for non P2P competitors to Joost and Babelgum, such as Italy’s CrossCast, which is coming to the US soon.

Janko Roettgers

Matt, you’re right, the shows have an entry on the site – but the CBS channel is not in the channel list that I linked to … and it’s not featured within Joost either. You really only find it if you search for it.

Matt Hendry

Janko CBS is listed onthe Joost website

*      CBS 2007 Fall Preview Show
* Pilot
* Born To Kill
* Big Brother 8 - 09/16/2007
* CSI: - Lab Rats
* Big Brother 8 - 09/11/2007
* Power Of 10 - 09/11/2007
* Power Of 10 - Bonus Footage - 09/11/2007
* Pirate Master - Series Finale
* Numb3rs - Premiere Trailer
* NCIS - Trojan Horse
* How I Met Your Mother - Full Episode - Something Borrowed
* Rules Of Engagement - Full Episode - Game On
* CSI: Miami - Kill Switch
* CSI: - Monster In The Box
* Jericho - One If By Land
* CSI: NY - Cold Reveal
* Jericho - Casus Belli
* Numb3rs - Pandora's Box
* CSI: - Loco Motives
* CSI: Miami - Just Murdered

Im sure more are being Injested

CBS daytime is also there .

Im sure when Joost officially launches you will see more and dont forget HULU hasn’t launched yet so NBC and FOX are holding that stuff back .

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