Joost seems to heading ever closer to death. It’s refocusing on becoming a white label video provider, is letting go of most of its staff, and has lost Mike Volpi as CEO. Less than three years after being founded, the Joost story looks set to come to an end fairly soon.
Everything In Place
Joost seemed to have every chance of succeeding when it launched as The Venice Project in October of 2006. Early hype made it a much in demand start-up, with everyone wanting to test the new high quality, on-demand video streaming service out. Which they did in their droves thanks to an invite-only beta.
The funding was also there in place, with $45 million raised from some big names including Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures, Viacom, and CBS. It was Hulu before Hulu was even a twinkle in its shareholders eyes. Success seemed guaranteed but clearly nothing is guaranteed in the world of technology.
Long Painful Death
There have been problems at the company for a while now, with some believing it to be only a matter of time before the whole thing collapsed under the weight of no one caring anymore. And while it’s still there, chugging away, it feels like Joost is about to die. It’s just a matter of how long and painful a death it is set to suffer.
In a last-ditch effort to stay alive, Joost has announced a raft of changes to the make up of the company and what services it is going to offering. CEO Mike Volpi is out, to be replaced by the former SVP of engineering Matt Zelesko. 90 percent of its workforce is also getting cut, with just core teams being kept in place in New York and London.
White Video Label Provider
Joost as a whole is going to be changing direction. The Joost television portal will remain open (at least for the time being) but the new focus will be on turning the company into a white label video provider providing services to others. That is if anyone actually wants to acquire those services.
Joost providing the back-end technology and support for other companies may not seem like a bad move but, as NewTeeVee points out, this is usually the strategy taken when all else has failed. It’s also a strange move seeing as Joost already uses Ooyala, another white label video provider, to do just that for its offering.
The white label video sector is already a crowded one. Granted, it’s not quite as crowded as the one Joost seems to now be moving away from but I can’t see the likes of Ooyala and Brightcove rolling over in the face of Joost, which, let’s face it, has arrived late at the party. Especially as Yahoo! seems to have bailed on Maven after buying the company at the beginning of last year.
Whether Joost can make a successful move into this sector isn’t yet clear, but what is clear is it has failed to live up to its early hype as an online video streaming service. Is it just a matter of time before the dream of its founders ends for good or can Joost live on after evolving into a new business?
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