Joost gets juiced up with $45 million in investment

May 12, 2007

News: Joost is a website (still in beta) that provides “high-quality content” produced by big media (it has 150 channels already), served through a peer-to-peer network. At touts itself, Joost hopes to be “the world’s first broadcast-quality Internet television service.” This week, Joost announced $45 million in investments from 5 investors, “CBS, Global Expansion Index Ventures, Li Ka Shing Foundation, Sequoia Capital, and Viacom.” (more)

Analysis: Yes, it’s no surprise to see Viacom (which has sued YouTube) as an investor in Joost. I’ve started playing around with the beta version of Joost recently, and it has many things that look pretty slick. But it’s a totally different animal to me than YouTube. At least from what I’ve seen, Joost is basically getting your cable TV via the Internet. YouTube’s heavily driven by user-generated content. That’s why Joost is trying to distinguish itself as providing “high quality” content.

What’s YouTube?

May 12, 2007

If you still don’t know, Blake Steck has a concise history of YouTube here.

YouTube caves in to Thai gov’t, removes all but 2 clips

May 12, 2007

News: After receiving word that it would be criminally prosecuted in Thailand, YouTube finally caved in. It removed most of the video clips that allegedly made fun of the Thai king, which is a violation of Thai law. (Some of the videos may have already been removed by the poster.) In a letter sent by Google attorneys, YouTube said that 2 clips would remain on the site because “[t]hey appear to be political comments that are critical of both the government and the conduct of foreigners. Because they are political in nature, and not intended insults of His Majesty, we do not see a basis for blocking these videos.” (more)

Analysis: I was surprised YouTube hadn’t complied with the Thai government’s request from the start, since YouTube did so for an earlier request by the Turkish government (see here). Other countries may have more restrictive speech laws than we, so YouTube (like other websites) is put in the position of “censoring” speech in order to operate within those other countries’ laws. That’s the challenge of running a site on the Internet.