Why Joost p2p was *never* going to work

Since the late 90’s, p2p as a term has gone from a definition of communication between to pc’s to pretty much anything.

Particularly in the area of entertainment & media, companies have mindlessly bundled content access and application experience/UI with p2p infrastructure. It is this mindless coupling of the two that brought down Joost’s initial efforts to redefine the distribution and consumption of TV. After a couple of futile years, they’ve finally accepted that:

Yesterday, Techcrunch covered the final and formal demise of Joost P2P. And although Arrington gushed over Joost at the beginning, I just never did get the strategy.  From the point of Joost’s public unveiling in 2006, I told friends and colleagues that the bifurcated model was doomed. . .

P2P hype has confused a lot of folks who bundle the term p2p with anything and everything under the sun.  Creating a p2p infrastructure/delivery service, and building a content business, are 2 ENTIRELY different businesses.

It is the equivalent of a Television network building out a Tier-1 backbone infrastructure.

If Joost were to truly succeed at a content distribution portal–which requires expertise in content licensing, user acquisition, branding, playback/navigation experience– they would simply go to a vendor for the best p2p infrastructure. Furthermore, why should Joost spend all of their $$, focus, resources on building out the infrastructure, if they don’t have the content or the users that can use it??!!

Bottom line is that start-ups have a tough enough time getting one business right. It made no sense (even at the beginning) for Joost to go after two businesses, especially with all of the barriers that P2P presents –ESPECIALLY having to get users to install a client vs. just simply clicking and streaming which they can freely do at YouTube, Hulu, etc..

I’m pretty surprised that Niklaus Zennstrom went down this path. He’s a truly great entrepreneur, but missed the boat on this one.  It’s good to see that Joost has tightened their focus on the core value proposition – building an online audience around high-value TV content.  Maybe this will help turn their fortunes around.

It’s about time they joined the party.

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