Joost’s relaunch, which will let users watch shows like “Friends” or “The Daily Show” directly on the Web, comes as YouTube also is beginning to offer full-length, commercial-supported television shows in addition to the shorter clips it’s best known for.
Previously, Joost users had to download the site’s free software to be able to watch its programming, but the step was cumbersome. Now the company is scrapping its original setup in favor of Flash video, which has long been used by Hulu, YouTube and other sites.
Joost Chief Executive Mike Volpi said the site’s social features have also been enhanced. People can see what their friends are watching on Joost and create groups around TV shows, characters or artists. Users will also be able to post a news feed of their and their friends’ activities on Joost to other Web sites, such as social networks like Facebook.
“In order to really enhance the viewing experience and differentiate the Internet from TV, you can’t just regurgitate TV,” Volpi said. “You have to engage the community. Ultimately, the Internet is about community-building.”
Still, without content, the community won’t have a whole lot to talk about, so Joost is also growing its library of TV shows, movies and music videos. The company — which was started by the creators of Skype and the music-sharing service Kazaa — has more than 46,000 professionally produced videos from the likes of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. It plans to show the full lineup of fall shows from CBS.