Relying upon the existing

Two items hit the newswires today, from Joost and the BBC. These items seem to reinforce each other.

Joost, a video delivery service, changed its delivery from an installed desktop client to browser delivery via Flash. The requirement to install a plugin download manager also went away.

Result? Joost is now easier to view, and for more people too.

That’s what Adobe does… it provides neutral publishing technology, that anyone is free to use. Adobe’s business model is based on selling optional efficiencies into these new publishing platforms. Has been for years.

People resist downloading and installing things. It’s a hassle, it might not work, it might turn out to be a risk. How do you enable a wide audience for what you publish? Remove the barriers to viewing it. It’s easiest to rely upon what everyone has already installed. Flash makes sense.

(Aside: There’s peer-to-peer support in Adobe Flash Player 10 (“Astro”), but not for constant disk activity like video.)

Joost took advantage of lower viewing costs for their audience. That was probably a bigger driver than their own reduced development costs.

And also today, Erik Huggers broke the news that the BBC is using AIR:

Today, we are announcing that in partnership with Adobe we are building a platform-neutral download client.

Using Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), we intend to make BBC iPlayer download functionality available on Mac, Linux and Windows for the first time later this year. Whatever platform you use, you’ll now be able to download TV programmes from the BBC to watch later – on the train, in the garden, or wherever you like.

I don’t know details yet… the BBC’s Internet Blog aggregator has had a lot of good articles in the past, and is the best place to watch for future news. Achieving platform-neutral distribution is a tough task, but that’s what Adobe already specializes in. People have anticipated services like the BBC going beyond the browser, and here it is. Makes sense.

A predictable publishing platform for the world’s interactive display surfaces… tooling and runtimes already de facto standards. That publishing platform already exists. Makes sense to use it, true?