Joost ex-CEO blames broadcasters for problems

Former Joost CEO Mike Volpi has blamed the self-publishing model taken by broadcasters and media companies for the downfall of the video-on-demand service.

Mike Volpi
Mike Volpi

In an interview with The Guardian’s PaidContent, Volpi said the lack of exclusive content available to Joost meant the service’s content “wasn’t what we needed it to be”.

“Media companies have approached the sector with more of a self-publishing model, meaning the content comes from their websites as opposed to through aggregators,” he said. “The challenge that Joost had throughout its life was that it had virtually no access to exclusive content. Many people will make issue of the choice to go with peer-to-peer or not, to go with a client or not, but fundamentally the issue is the content wasn’t what we needed it to be. That’s probably the biggest lesson: people want to watch great content.”

Volpi, who stepped down as CEO last week but remains chairman of Joost, told PaidContent the service had achieved good growth, to 3.5m unique users worldwide, but the market changed after the collapse of Project Kangaroo and Disney’s move to work with Hulu.

Joost will now drop its consumer service to focus on business-to-business white-labelling, and Volpi has joined venture capital firm Index Ventures as a partner.

He said he believes the aggregator model will win out over the self-publishing model, and that Hulu could succeed in the UK.

“Hulu is a great company that has done an amazing job in the US,” said Volpi. “It obviously has access to amazing content. If it can find a way through whatever format – equity or payments or whatever – to get these programmes in the UK, I definitely think it will have an opportunity to succeed. If it doesn’t, then it’s going to be challenging for Hulu.”

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