While approaches to online content are still evolving, and the ever-present issue of how to make money remains, video sharing site Joost is taking a page out of Facebook’s, uh, book. The old version of Joost, launched in 2007, was basically a VOD site. While users were present and deals were made with varied content providers such as NHK, PBS, ITN and CNN, the team behind the site felt its interface, which only allowed users to watch video, was isolating. It recently relaunched with a new structure that is about creating communities around content.
The crux of the new site is to give users the ability to share what they’re viewing virally with friends, without physically having to send out emails inviting users to Joost. Using what is called the ‘JoostFeed,’ users can share videos by exporting the regularly updated list to their other profiles on social networking sites such as Delicious, Facebook, Mister Wong and Digg, letting other sites’ interfaces draw people back to the programs available on Joost.
Another way to encourage interaction is the site’s ‘shout’ buttons. By clicking buttons such as ‘wow’ and ‘lol’ it creates what global head of programming Danny Passman calls ‘fun ways to make emotional connections to video.’ Users can then look at the list of videos which were tagged with these qualifiers when making their viewing choices.
‘One thing that’s really important to me is making sure the site is very timely and relevant. It’s not just a catch-up TV site,’ says Passman. Joost has many recent original content deals such as its deal with All3Media in the UK, offering shows such as 10 Years Younger, How to Look Good Naked and Dirty Tricks.
The site is advertising-supported, free to consumers and shares ad revenue with content owners. Joost currently has over 8,000 hours of video, with the US as the major territory for content. In terms of rights, they are trying to get as many deals with as many channels as possible in different territories.