Joost Hits 1 Million Sign-Ups

Joost founder Niklas Zennstrom dropped the news at a Skype press conference in Estonia (almost equally newsworthy: Zennstrom is still pretending to have something to do with the stalling Skype?).

One million is a big number, and Joost certainly has to be taken seriously.  This said, we still remain sceptical that Joost will ever become the enduring mainstream phenomenon that most observers think (See Joost: The PointCast of 2007?). 

We understand why the big New York media companies love Joost: It’s the anti-YouTube.  And the Joost solution–“channels” that replace complete user control a la YouTube with passive, TV-like programming–will certainly appeal to those who want to use their PCs as a substitute for their TVs.  Most online video viewers, however, don’t want to “watch TV” online–they want to do stuff they can’t do with their TVs, such as click around, viewing one-to-two minute clips, reading some text, seeing some static pictures, and then clicking around some more.  Also, Joost still faces technical challenges–the “player” is big and cumbersome and prone to RealPlayer-like service interruptions.

And then there’s the “1 million” figure.  Yes, it’s a big number, but does it mean 1 million downloads–or 1 million consistent users?  If the latter, Joost is truly gaining serious traction.  If the former, big whoop.  Given the buzz Joost has gotten, it would be a miracle if the software hadn’t been downloaded 1 million times.  But of those 1 million beta downloads, we expect, more than a few have Joost-using habits like us: Check out beta once, never open the player again.  apc, via Pete Cashmore at Mashable

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