One million beta testers for Joost, but have they stuck around?

The Internet TV start-up from the co-founders of Skype and Kazaa claims that one million people have signed up to test its service; how many of them are active, however, remains unclear.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read
Joost (screengrab by Mashable)

The founders of online television start-up Joost, who also count Skype and Kazaa as bullet points on their resumes, have announced that the service now has one million users. Still in beta and technically invite-only (though invitations are now easy to find), Joost was one of the most-talked-about tech products of last year. Originally known by the Bond-worthy codename "The Venice Project," Joost was widely touted as a "YouTube killer" before people really knew what it was--in truth, the service is a slick interface for free, ad-supported video content on-demand. No cat videos there.

Joost co-founder Niklas Zennstrom made the announcement while at a Skype press conference in the Eastern European high-tech hub of Tallinn, Estonia.

The catch is that one million beta testers absolutely doesn't translate to one million active beta testers. I've been playing with Joost since the early days, and I tend to agree with much of the feedback I've heard about the start-up: amazing interface, effective peer-to-peer architecture, but a noticeable lack of worthwhile content. Last I checked, the most worthwhile draws were still National Geographic documentaries, a few CNN talk shows, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. (I'm in Boston right now. Will I get in trouble for saying that?)

Right now, my beta account lies fallow, and I'm sure at least a handful of the other million users could say the same. But when Joost starts offering an impressive lineup of the stuff that I've been either recording on my DVR or buying from the iTunes Store--right now, for the record, my current must-watch is AMC's Mad Men--then I'll start tuning in again.