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Joost, the online video service which has had more than its share of troubles since its founding, had another story this weekend to contend with, this time a sketchily-sourced story from Times UK. The story said that the London-based company is in for a “major retrenchment” and “is expected to rein in its global ambitions to focus solely on the US market.” And everyone went to town with the story, though no one bothered to check with Joost on it.
Turns out, neither of the points are true, as Joost PR told me this morning. The company has about 100 employees and is not planning any major layoffs, but is doing “re-alignment”, whatever that means. Also, Joost is not planning to only focus on U.S….that part is “completely untrue” as well, according to the company PR rep. The company is based in London and has major European roots, and will continue to do cross-border deals.
That the company has a tough road ahead is of course undeniable. Competition is intense. This April story in Portfolio paints a good picture of the company’s travails and hopes going ahead. The company plans to go launch a browser-version of it service…dedicated downloadable apps for such a service doesn’t make sense. Also, it plans to carry live programming, which may come with its own set of tech nightmares if it ever scales.
Update: Gigaom has an interview with Mike Volpi, CEO of Joost. He mentions that the company is focusing on US, Western Europe, China and a few other Asian markets, where online ad markets are more mature. Also, the company has no plans to shut down the Netherlands operation, contrary to earlier reports.