The writing is on the wall for Joost: The company just fired its CTO under what can only be described as puzzling circumstances. Then there are all those rumors about disappointing user numbers, funding issues and staffers looking for new jobs. It’s hard to tell whether these are true, but it’s clear that Joost is getting beat left and right by its competitors. Just take a look at Hulu, and you know that the Joost team has good reason to be worried.
But all is not lost for Joost. The company has built some interesting technology that could be leveraged into a great online video platform, it just has to break down the walls to its deserted garden. Here’s some unsolicited advice on how to save Joost.
Integrate Hulu. Almost ever single comment made on our recent articles about Joost involves a complaint about the lack of quality content. Joost has Tropical Honeys, Hulu’s got Heroes. Go figure. But Joost can make use of Hulu because its application is built on Mozilla XUL-Code, making it basically a browser that is specialized for video. Hulu, on the other hand, allows its clips to be embedded into any web page. Veoh and formal partners like MSN already make use of it, so why not Joost? Sure, the interface will need some tweaking, but that’s a small price to pay if you get instant access to tons of quality programming in return.
Turn Joost into a podcasting client. There are literally hundreds of great video podcasts out there, and tens of thousands that, although questionable to some, still manage to tickle the fancy of others. So why can’t I watch any of them with Joost? Give me the ability to chat with users who watch the same content, just as it’s now possible with Joost shows, and I’ll even tolerate the occasional layer ad. There have been fairly reliable rumors about Joost working on this feature for quite a while now, so where the heck is it?
Build a web version. This is pretty much a no-brainer. Sure, P2P won’t work on the web, and there are plenty of competitors out there. But it’s about offering your users the convenience of being able to watch your content where they want and how they want. Joost’s advantage over platforms like Hulu will never be some software with lots of bells and whistles, but its potential to have a social dimension. Users that interact with each other and help each other find content. Build this community in your client, give it a home on the web and allow them to occasionally stream a clip there as well.
Build a Firefox plug-in. Consider it the next step in merging the web with the Joost app. A plug-in could make use of Joost’s P2P network, its widgets and its community and at the same time allow access to any other content online. Wouldn’t it be great if users could mash a single playlist out of YouTube videos, Joost clips and Hulu scenes and then send it to their Joost IM buddies?
Get Joost on the Wii. Forget about Apple TV. The real home entertainment powerhouse is Nintendo. The company has sold more than seven million consoles in the U.S. alone, but hasn’t shown any ambitions to get into the online video market. Joost could fill this gap by offering a Wii-optimized web app that’s accessible through the console’s Opera browser. Give me the ability to control my videos with some wild Wiimote gestures, and I’ll chose Joost over Hulu any day.