Monthly Archives: January 2008

How Much Juice Does Joost Have Left?

Joost 

 There are multiple reasons why I should like the company, Joost.  I’ve been personally active in the online media space the past eight years, I enjoy the product Skype and my current business venture is largely driven by the aspiring success of IP video. 

Yet, time and time again, I find myself cringing when I receive email updates from Joost inviting me to check out the product again.  I spent a couple of times with their beta product last spring and despite their repeated efforts to have me return, I cannot.

Today’s latest email update was an example of what’s wrong with Joost: it’s the programming, stupid.  It really makes no difference to me as an online consumer how cool the interactive features are or that your web product and newsletter have flashy colors and jpeg images.  I, unlike others I work with admittedly, don’t even care much about the quality of the video.  Ultimately, like so many other consumers, I care about the programming.  So, when I saw today’s email newsletter inviting me to check out their hot, action sports catalog, I immediately thought, “no thanks, I’ll just watch the X-Games on ESPN tonight.”  My disinterest was only compounded by the lame attempt at editorial wit in the form of this line: “warm up with some eye candy from the resorts, then turn up the heat with back country and off piste TPS reports (Tricks, Powder and Spills).”  Nice attempt at getting some laughs fellas in the spirit of Office Space and the TPS reports joke.  I was already having a case of the Moondays this morning before I got this email from you.

I’ve been watching the online video space for about 10 years now and have seen my shares of the highs, and mostly lows, from the likes of Intertainer, Movielink, CinemaNow, TotalVid, ManiaTV, Cflix and others.  (BTW, what is Intertainer still doing with a web presence?!)  Hidden tricks, simplified links to blog posts, RSS capabilities and more aren’t going to result in success, nor will Kung Fu programs or other long-tail programming.  The key to successful monetization of video online will be free-to-air (FTA) models, namely advertising, and those models only work with a meaningful user base.  Adventure sports and kung fu films, as much as I personally enjoy them, don’t drive hundreds of thousands of users repeatedly. 

There are clearly some folks making noise these days with online video including Move Networks, ABC, Hulu and a few others.  I’m personally excited and thankful for that on many levels.  However, if Joost doesn’t start getting some legitimate programming on their network, whether via licensing or syndication approaches, and growing their user base quickly, I imagine they will soon be out of juice.

BTW, if you’re out there reading this and think I’m either a) spot on here or b) dead wrong here, I’d love to hear your perspectives on this (and/or the larger online video space.)       

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Filed under Tech, Video

Smart Doggie

This video is hysterical.  I have a very smart yellow lab but I don’t envision him being this shrewd. 

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Filed under Random

La Diabla Buena

juno.jpg 

I’m sure I’m late to the blogosphere on this one but, either way, for those of you out there that haven’t seen the movie Juno yet, I’d recommend you run to the theaters this weekend to see it.

Here was a great piece on CNN.com today about the stripper turned screenplay writer, Diablo Cody:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/09/film.diablo.cody.ap/index.html?iref=newssearch 

When I first saw her name appear in the pre-roll credits as I saw the film a few weeks back, I thought to myself, “that sounds like a porn star name.”  Porn star, stripper, screenplay writer or In-and-Out Burger flipper, Diablo penned a heck of a screenplay here and this movie is absolutely fantastic.  In a Will Ferrell and Judd Apatow dominated comedic film world of either sophomoric flics (e.g. Superbad) or cutesy ones (e.g. Knocked Up,) Juno was remarkably fresh and well done.  It didn’t drag, it told a good story, the acting was strong all-around and it deserves to be credited as one of the better movies of 2008.  (I did enjoy Superbad and Knocked Up BTW–I just thought Juno was all around better than both of them.) 

The movie that Juno most reminded me of stylistically was Thank you for Smoking and, sure enough, they are both directed by Jason Reitman.  Reitman who is, not surprisingly, the talented son of the classic Ivan Reitman (think Ghostbusters, Twins, Old School, Road Trip, etc etc) clearly has a unique style these days that crosses somewhere between Wes Anderson and his old man.  He, like Diablo, has an exciting career in front of him.

The movie Juno, and the back-story of Diablo Cody, is a great one on many levels.  I’m looking forward to many more future projects from her.   

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Filed under Flics

360 Degree Music

bandsphere.jpg

In the constantly changing and, these days ever fledgling, world of the music business, revolutionary concepts and business models will be required to reverse the course. 

I’m not certain yet if it qualifies as radical, but I was introduced today to a concept and term I liked a lot called 360 degree music.  The premise is simple: In today’s online world, most consumers attach no direct value to the music itself anymore.  The music itself is becoming free  However, the larger world of music still has great appeal and is being experienced on more platforms, in more ways, than ever before.  In the 360 degree spirit, licensed music effectively serves as a marketing tool to attract consumers to that which is still valued, namely concerts, merchandise and portable devices.  I was once told by a senior executive at a Hollywood studio that the self-aware media person sees themself as a marketer above all else.  The idea of 360 degree music is clearly a marketing play.    

Again, while this may not be a revolutionary answer on it’s face to the music business challenges, it’s the right way of thinking about the future.  And, at a minimum, I definitely like the 360 degree play more than the proposed notion of, oh say, a music tax.  If this theme begins to pick up some steam, one player out in front appears to be Live Nation, who made some interesting noise in 2007 when they signed their record deal with Madonna and paid $80M for a music merchandising firm. 

2007 was a bad year for the music industry and, as a fan on many levels, here’s hoping it was the bottom of the slide.  If 2008 is the year the comeback begins, the focus should be on emphasizing the experiential components of the industry rather than scraping for pennies on per download license fees or music taxes. 

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Filed under Business, Music