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Joost How You Like It

Joost (pronounced “juiced”) is breaking the rules – it’s pushing the boundaries of how we watch TV, so we’ll get outside our dens and bedrooms and into the wider world. How so? According to Joost’s founders they’ve created the next big thing in home entertainment: Internet TV. Since these same men also created Kazaa, one of the pioneering popular music sharing web sites, and the free Internet telephone system, Skype, people are taking this latest announcement seriously.

Scandinavian entrepreneurs Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis co-founded Kazaa, Skype, and Joost. They make an unlikely pair. Zennström is ten years older than Friis and has dual degrees in business and engineering. Friis never graduated high school. The two met while working in Europe for a company called Tele2 and are now among the wealthiest and most influential business people on the planet. They sold Skype to eBay in 2005 for $6.2 billion.

Joost aims to provide an upgraded television experience. Ideally, benefits will include high resolution imaging, free access to popular television shows, free access to independent and fringe television artists, channel surfing capability, and, of course, the freedom to watch television when you want and where you want (so long as there’s Internet access). I prefaced the last sentence with “ideally” because Joost hasn’t actually solidified the content that will be available, and that’s probably the loudest critique by naysayers. Early contract deals include Warner Music and September Films – the latter studio created “Beauty & the Geek” and “Bridezillas”. Joost says it’s still in testing mode and plans to have content contracts buzzing in the next few months. For more in-depth information, click here to read an interview with Joost’s CEO Fredrik de Wahl.

Niklas ZennströmNiklas ZennströmNothing comes without a price, and Joost will pay for expenses by selling advertising time. The Associated Press’s Toby Sterling writes after interviewing a Joost spokesperson: “The service will be ad-supported, but advertising will be briefer and less frequent than on regular television. Viewers will have a broader selection of programming and will be able to watch whenever they want.” I rarely watch television because there are so many commercials, so my guess is that any step towards shortening ad time will be appreciated by viewers. The company already has more than 150 employees.

What will you need to take advantage of Joost’s services? A computer and about 1MG available for the application should fit the bill. No date of availability has been named, but the signs point to a few months from now.

Emily Swan
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