There’s no small irony that two of the programs targeted by children’s media advocates during the 1980’s for being commercials for toys–the Transformers and GI Joe–are to have their own channels on Joost. Clearly, both the FTC and the FCC [and Rep. Ed Markey] will need to examine this deal with Hasbro when it comes to data collection, inappropriate advertising, etc. But Joost surely can do better than this. The folks behind the company have been engaged in a certain amount of self-hype. But if all Joost’s co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom can give us are reruns which reflect a bottom line mentality, they seriously need to examine what their values are. Joost is promoted as combining “a TV viewing experience with the choice, control and flexibility of Web 2.0.” But with interactive channels promoting violent, toy-based products, Joost is simply the latest enabler for a media culture that places profits before the public interest. What Joost really is about is old media value 1.0. [We won’t get into the violence connection with these shows. Interactive channels promoting violence, especially at this time in our global society, should give all responsible people a reason to reflect. But I hope that other advocates raise lots of you-know-what about this.]

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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