As an update to an earlier post, pioneering online TV service Joost is now fully operational converting from a clunky desktop installed TV 2.0 entity to a more consumer-friendly Flash-based site similar to Hulu. The similarity ends in that Joost has a wide variety of current and retro TV fare (where else can you find “Silver Spoons”) but the list does not include any current programming from either NBC or Fox. In order to include that in its lineup, Joost would need to use the Hulu video player which is required for all but a select few (such as Yahoo) as part of a distribution deal. Because the Hulu player includes Hulu’s in stream ads and promotions, that limits Joost’s ad revenue possibilities to positions around the player but not in the prime on-screen spot. YouTube, which has a Hulu channel, doesn’t seem to mind these Hulu spots, but then again YouTube can afford such largess (as well as hoping to build a good relationship with NBC and Fox).
Hulu, on the other hand, has a more consumer-focused approach to the online video business. If you go to Hulu and search on CSI, the result will take you to a list of CBS programs. Clicking on any result will take you out of the Hulu ecosystem and over to Cbs.com to watch that show. Hulu gets no revenue for this navigational feature but goes a long way in establishing itself as a comprehensive premiere TV portal.
Other than the lack of NBC and Fox programming and a UX issue in allowing users to separate clips from full episodes, the new Joost is fine with a really nice full screen picture that rivals any current TV 2.0 service. That said, Joost is late to a game that Hulu currently dominates and is likely to wind up a second tier player.