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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Joost excerpts from - Why Joost is good for TV

Zennström and Friis have day jobs as Skype's CEO and executive vice president of innovation, respectively. But in the cute way that Internet billionaires can do whatever the hell they want, they're teeing up the mother of all side projects.

"It's really pretty simple," Friis says, shifting into mantra mode. "We've taken the best things about television and added the best things from the Internet."

Can they wrestle the broadcast beast onto the Net? Friis and Zennström are players now, big names with a fearsome track record. Even more amazing (or scary, if you're a TV insider), they have zero stake in the traditional media pillars. They don't own shows, channels, or networks. They don't have billion-dollar ad deals to protect. Steve Jobs has married Walt Disney. Jeff Bezos is dating Hollywood. Google, the ur-online software company, is building a globe-girdling web of proprietary pipes and monster servers. And along come these two Eurogeeks -- where the hell is Denmark, anyway? -- toting serial-killer technology, a multimillion-dollar checkbook, a blank slate, and a crazy dream.

To pull that off, the history of both the Internet and television suggest an obvious price point: zero. "The ultimate value of Skype is free phone calls," says Friis, who cheerfully mixes rabble-rousing populism and cold-eyed business. "The ultimate value of what we're doing here is free TV."

The bad thing about being Internet rock stars is the temptation to jump into things that most people with a billion dollars would instinctively flee. The good thing is that you might actually succeed. Zennström and Friis have made larger-than-life careers of tackling ever bigger opportunities. Each time, they've dragged a hidebound industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Broadcasters, watch your backs.


At Skype's sleek London headquarters, the two Vikings are penned in a small glass-walled conference room. Zennström is still under the gun to prove the wisdom of eBay's purchase. He has confidence, though, in his recipe for turning bit-powered ideas into money-spinning businesses. "You can't just put a technology out there and hope there will be a business in it," he says. "You have to put together a whole consumer offering, a great instantaneous experience. A simple service that fills an obvious need and can be offered for free."

Read the most comprehensive article written to date on the Joost project.
Thanks to Wired News and Spencer Reiss.

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