Joost, a popular online web video site, is betting that back-end technology developed by Ooyala, a video platform provider, will enable the company to focus on offering a better viewing experience for its audience. As part of this strategy, Joost will leverage Ooyala for uploading, transcoding, content management services, and analytics. These services will be used on a limited basis to start off, according to Joost CTO Jason Gaedtke, who spoke with Contentinople's Ryan Lawler. For Ooyala, this working relationship though small scale right now, is a significant one. The fast growing, colorful company also provides video technology for AOL (Bebo), TV Guide, Glam Media, Electronic Arts (UK), National Geographic (JP), Slide, IMG, etc.
I spoke with the Ooyala founders several weeks ago during a visit to Ooyala's headquarters in downtown Mountain View, CA. At that time, they were finalizing the working contract with Joost. "I think the Joost launch will be probably the most impressive launch to date that's pulling out the modularity of our platform out," said Sean Knapp, Ooyala CTO and Co-founder, "Everything from the from the back-end storage and transcoding and content management, sort of tossed over the wall for the delivery model where we're not doing any of the delivery. But then plugging in an extensible module for our analytics into their player that tosses analytics data back over the wall to the Ooyala system to report on those analytics. But we have a couple of very clear hand off points and it's a great example of the fact that these are all modules. We have a transcoding module, a content management module, delivery and analytics and so on. So it's a great use case of specific pieces with very clear transitions and hand off points between our systems. It is pretty exciting."
For Joost, the partnership is seen as way to efficiently service its smaller video content producers. Large content owners will continue to use Joost's own uploading and management technologies. Joost CEO Mike Volpi stated, "We are determined to find and implement best-of-breed solutions so we have a set of tools that help us service all content partners of all sizes seamlessly and efficiently. Specifically, for some of our partners with fewer resources or smaller libraries, we were looking for an easy-to-use content upload and ingestion service that integrates smoothly with our existing tools and infrastructure. Ooyala Backlot's modularity and extensibility will deliver this for us, and as an added bonus, they support a broad range of ingestion and output formats."
In a conference call this morning, Ooyala CEO Bismarck Lepe explained how Ooyala leverages cloud computing technology to service partners like Joost, "Many of our new customers are realizing that they are the big media companies of the future. It is becoming increasingly clear that there are some services and advanced technologies that should be outsourced. We started seeing a rise in interest for our technologies in Q4 of 2008. Companies that were initially reluctant to hear our value proposition are now all ears. They're trying to focus on their core competencies and streamline their video businesses."
One of Joost's biggest competitors is Hulu and while Hulu dwarfs Joost in size, as Dan Frommer points out, this deal should allow Joost run a leaner, more resource-efficient staff "to focus on building a Web TV service." Joost has one of the few video approved video apps for the iPhone.
In my office visit, Knapp explained how Ooyala's APIs and its modular offering will be used to power Apple's ubiquitous mobile devices. "What we'll be doing is, essentially Joost has an umbrella of content owners, and they'll be getting co-branded Backlots if you will. So they'll log in, upload their content and edit all the metadata. They'll get a few extra controls, essentially, "I want this to go to the Joost iPhone app, I want this to go just to Joost.com, or I want this to go to Joost broader syndication their embeddable player elsewhere online" so they'll get all those controls. So we will actually be generating the iPhone streams. I don't think we're going to have analytics for the iPhone right away but beyond there's full support for their entire management system." While the Joost-Backlot integration is a relatively conservative test for Ooyala's technology, the company says a few other large media outlets around the world are also implementing similar solutions.