Joost said ready to rein in global ambitions, focus on U.S. market

The video start-up is preparing for "a major retrenchment," according to <i>The Sunday Times</i>.

Charles Cooper Former Executive Editor / News
Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.
Charles Cooper
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Marley, Joost's "Vice President of Office Hamony." We're not kidding Joost

Looks as if the rest of the world may have to wait a tad longer to experience the pleasure of "next-generation TV." The Sunday Times is reporting that Joost will ditch some of its more ambitious plans to focus on the U.S. market.

The article reports that "a major retrenchment" is in the offing. A Joost spokeswoman is quoted denying layoffs but allowing that "there are some situations where staff have been realigned to better fit our needs." (Bush should hire that person to spin our Iraq fiasco.)

Nice scoopage, if true, though hardly a shocker at this point. This most heavily hyped video start-up was founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström ,the creators of Skype and Kazaa. But it has struggled to gain traction as a so-called YouTube killer. Joost was supposed to be the answer to online video piracy. The idea was to offer a platform which would give professional content creators access to a high-quality video platform and revenue from A-list advertisers.

Now that the initial buzz has faded, Joost faces new competition from the Hulu video venture from NBC Universal and News Corp. Check out this devastating piece in Portfolio.com chronicling just how rapidly "Joost went from superhero to life support."

Of course, this doesn't need to ring the death knell for Joost. Serving up video--including Internet TV--is going to happen. Broadband needs to get faster--a lot faster--while Joost and the other entrants need to improve the user experience. But we've seen this before. The question now is whether Mike Volpi, the seasoned executive brought in from Cisco Systems to provide professional management as CEO, can keep Joost in the game until the "ah ha moment" when the technology can catch up with the big idea.