Forget the three-minute video blog. The 30-minute, broadcast-quality Web 2.0 TV show is coming in all its full-screen glory. And if serial disrupters Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom have their way, neither television nor the Internet will be the same.
The duo behind peer-to-peer services Kazaa and Skype will officially launch Joost this spring, aiming to merge the best of TV with the best of the Net.
The service provides more of a television-style experience than current online video sites, with channels you can flip through randomly or program yourself. Viewers can also share playlists of their favorite shows with friends or chat with them online while watching the same program.
Joost will be free, supported by highly targeted ads based on people's actual watching habits, their friends' viewing patterns, and information they volunteer. Ad revenue will be split between Joost and the content owners.
Joost can offload much of the heavy bandwidth and storage costs borne by Web video companies like YouTube because the service is a partial peer-to-peer system, with content distributed among viewers' computers. And to reassure Hollywood moguls who watched the music industry get burned by Kazaa's legions of illegal file sharers, all Joost video is streamed and encrypted.
Tell us what you think about Joost: Will the Skype founders beat YouTube?
Funding: Not disclosed
Founders: Janus Friis, Niklas Zennstrom (shown above)
Business model: Advertising
Bragging rights: 40,000 beta testers; just beat rival YouTube by signing major content deal with Viacom; other content providers include National Geographic, Warner Music Group, and Dutch TV production company Endemol
Next up: Striking more content deals