Joost is looking to sell itself and become an online video platform for cable or satellite operators, with Time Warner Cable supposedly interested, according to an anonymously sourced article at CNET. When asked about it, a Joost rep provided us with a “we don’t comment on rumors” email.
Joost CEO Mike Volpi wrote a post on the Joost blog yesterday outlining just how shiny everything is on the site. According to the post, site traffic is up nearly five-fold since relaunching the web-based Joost.com service and there were 15 million video views in March. Volpi closes the post with:
“[N]othing, not brain-eating aliens, not cats on skateboards, and not rumors and speculation, will keep us from continuing on our mission to bring video to you over the internet. In the afterglow of the hype of our early days, we’ve had our fair share of critics, but we’re encouraged every day by the amount of feedback emails, tweets, Facebook comments and more that we receive from our fans.”
Joost was heralded as an online video messiah when it launched in 2007, one that would lead web TV into a new era. But people didn’t like downloading an app to run the thing and upstarts like Hulu (and now YouTube) stole Joost’s thunder by nabbing brand-name, premium content and creating a killer user experience. Even CBS, which invested in Joost, re-launched its TV.com to become a rival premium content portal.
As far as potential suitors, we know Comcast doesn’t need to buy Joost; it’s going full steam ahead with its Fancast. Though it has an agreement to use Comcast-owned thePlatform for video publishing and management, Time Warner Cable could be interested. But the Joost brand is pretty tarnished at this point, and while Joost has some content from Viacom, CBS and Warner Bros., it recently lost Sony Pictures, and doesn’t have content from Fox or NBC. So Time Warner wouldn’t be acquiring the rights to a vast online content library.
Joost needs something big in order to survive, and an acquisition by a big cable company like Time Warner could be its best bet.