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Viacom’s online video outlet is Joost

Ashley Milne-Tyte Feb 20, 2007

Viacom’s online video outlet is Joost

Ashley Milne-Tyte Feb 20, 2007

KAI RYSSDAL: As of a couple of weeks ago, you stopped being able to find Viacom content on YouTube. That’s everything from MTV to CBS. The media giant yanked a hundred thousand clips off the viedo site after a revenue sharing deal fell through. Speculation since has been over where Viacom would go to put its content online.

Today, the company announced a deal to license its programming to a company called Joost. Yeah, Joost. Ashley Milne-Tyte has more.

ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: Joost is the brainchild of the same pair that unveiled file-sharing service Kazaa and Internet telephony success story Skype. The service will be up and running later this year.

Joost is essentially software that will enable you to download and watch entire TV shows on your computer.

Anton Denissov

is with The Yankee Group. He says Viacom sees dollar signs in the deal.

ANTON DENISSOV: It saw its content on YouTube getting millions and millions of hits, and said, “Hey, this golden goose is still laying eggs, and we need to cash in.”

Viacom and Joost won’t talk about financial details. But Denissov says they’ve probably come to an agreement where they’ll share ad revenue.

Molly Wood

of CNET.com says the move comes out of left field.

MOLLY WOOD: I think on Viacom’s part, actually, it’s a very bold move. Something pretty unexpected, and I think it’s a big risk for them to take.

After all, Joost is a start-up. Still, she says, there’s real potential for success. For one thing, Joost’s founders inspire a lot of confidence among early adopters. Then it comes down to surfers’ ultimate preferences: funny video clips a la YouTube, or actual shows.

WOOD: And so far there haven’t been a lot of full-length television shows online. If Joost comes out and they are the company that offers all those full-length television shows online, and that turns out be what people really, really want, then they are going to be very hard to beat.

And, she says, there are more computer TV watchers than you think. Just turn around on a plane or train and see how many people are catching up on missed shows on their laptops.

In New York, I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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