Joost Becomes Web Flash Site, Drops Plug-In Altogether | Can It Compete With Hulu?

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The new Joost is now live, and offers users the chance to watch content in their Web browser using Flash. But is the content ever going to be good enough for it to compete with Hulu?

We’ve been expecting this to happen for over a month now: Joost has become Web-based, eschewing the need for a plug-in to be downloaded. In fact, the plug-in option has been dropped altogether to keep things simple.

Long Overdue

This move was long overdue as viewers made it clear that they didn’t want to download anything or open up an application just to view the odd video. So more than a year after it was first suggested, Joost has dropped the plug-in.

Joost CEO Mike Volpi told NewTeeVee that the plug-in could come back in time if the need was justified. This would seem to be only necessary for streaming live events.

New Homepage

Now, when you visit, you’re presented with a video player and lists of programmes to start watching. To do so, you still need an account and to be logged in, but it’s still a vast improvement.

This means Joost has joined the ranks alongside Hulu, YouTube, Veoh, DailyMotion, and the hundreds of other Web-based video sites offering a simple Flash player.

Bandwidth Vs Revenue

It also means that rather than the users sharing the bandwidth, the site will be taking the whole cost of streaming on its shoulders, which could mount up over time, especially if the site starts to attract more people.

We’ve heard a lot about YouTube venturing in to the world of advertising, but Joost is already there, having pre-roll adverts before each clip. This can become irksome but should mean the business model succeeds.

So Joost is now on a level playing field with Hulu, probably the most accomplished video site currently. But it’s unfortunately still lacking in content.

Lack Of Great Content

Some new shows and movies have been added to coincide with the launch of Joost Mark II, but most of these are only available in the US, excluding half of the site’s users from watching them.

What’s left is content that is neither exclusive or generally that interesting. Until the quality of what’s available on the site improves, I’m afraid Joost will still struggle to compete with Hulu.