Last week IPTV company Joost announced it had signed up 32 companies including Coca-Cola, Nike, Purina, HP, Intel, Taco Bell, Lions Gate and others to advertise on their soon to be released service. Today, Joost announced its commercial launch.
Though the service is proclaimed to be widely available, access is limited to people who receive an invitation from friends and affiliates (similar to what was done with Gmail, though Google called that offering a beta test). That marketing tactic is a little risky. On the one hand, it will allow the company some measure of controlled growth and protect against initial traffic “bursts” that could theoretical impair their offering. The marketing gimcick may also create an artificial sense of exclusivity and community. On the other hand, the tactic could alienate potential users and impair growth.
Joost, which was previously called The Venice Project (prior article can be found here), promises more than 150 channels of broadcast quality programming served on an IPTV peer to peer platform that is ad-supported. The first advertisers signed up for a 3 month trial at a reported cost of $50,000 for the United States, and $100k for full international distribution. (Programming on Joost will vary by geography). One of the promises of Joost’s sales effort is television caliber advertising blended with the interactivity of the Internet.
For the past couple months, Joost has made headway in signing up content partners for its service. Some of the companies participating in the roll out, or expected to be a part of Joost within the month include National Geographic, TBS, Sony Pictures TV, Sports Illustrated and the NHL. The content will vary from shorts, to vintage broadcast footage, to new more timely material.
The arena Joost is competing in is competitive and varied – with offerings from the TV Networks themselves (ABC, NBC, HBO’s This Just in etc) to newer entries like San Diego based Veoh or Ireland’s Babelgum.
The next few months will be an important a test of Joost’s chances of success. Advertisers will be watching closely to determine whether or not to increase their buys or move on.