Remember Joost? It was that downloadable application made by the guys behind Skype that was going to combine “the best of TV and the best of the Internet by offering viewers a unique, TV-like experience enhanced with the choice, control and flexibility of Web 2.0.”
The first attempt didn’t work because nobody wanted to download the clunky application. The second iteration was browser-based — as we consumers demanded — but it required a plugin that still made using Joost a drag.
Third time’s a charm, right? Well, today Joost launched an easy-to-access, browser-based, Flash website that’s chalk-full of professionally produced content, and only about ten months behind it’s closest, younger rival, Hulu.
(YouTube‘s success has been attributed largely to it’s use of Flash, which is installed on something like 98% of all US desktops. Hulu, and now Joost, was smart to follow suit.)
Joost now boasts 46,000 videos from content partners including CBS, Viacom, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. Television Group, the NBA, PBS and many international providers. It also has a suite of Facebook-like features that lets users browse for shows by stalking friends and non-friends.
Despite the kinda neato new features, Joost lacks the elegance and ease-of-use of Hulu, and the videos don’t look quite as clear. Though I am told this is coming very soon, the lack of an embed feature makes sharing or blogging about Joost’s content pretty difficult.
But content is still king, and as long as Joost can procure some find-it-nowhere-else material this is an adaquate start for a successful counterbalance to Hulu’s juggernaut.