Viacom Boosts Joost: Say No To YouTube?

I blogged about this the other day when Viacom stiffed Google on an advertising deal pertaining to all of it's digital properties. I thought it was a possible response to Google's inability to curtail copyright content on YouTube which resulted in Viacom's billion dollar lawsuit against the search giant. Further I thought we'd see media firms rally against YouTube. Well folks, it's happening!

In February, Reuters reported that Viacom signed a video deal with Joost to port hundreds of hours of programming to the startup's IP TV on demand platform. As CyberNet is reporting today Viacom Turns on YouTube, now Greets Joost with Open Arms:

"Viacom has made a new deal that involves the licensing of hundreds of hours of programming from networks like MTV, Comedy Central, Spike, and even movies from Paramount. What makes Joost more appealing for Viacom is that users aren’t able to upload content themselves. That may not be very appealing for some users who’d like the option for uploading their content, but what is appealing is that Joost will be running full episodes, and to boot? High-quality resolution, which is something you wouldn’t find from YouTube."

I'm fairly certain this will be a trend for media companies who are looking for more control over their digital content. In Fact, there are rumors on the Joost blog that CBS is jumping into the Joost mix with their premier shows: CSI, CSI Miami, CSI New York, CBS Sportsline, and Survivor.

Advertising innovators have embraced Joost and it shows with some of the big names they have sold spots to. Globally they have such clients as Coca-Cola, HP, Intel and Nike. In the USA they have signed deals with Electronic Arts, Esurance, Garnier Fructis, Kraft, Lionsgate, Microsoft Corp, Motorola Inc, Nestle Purina PetCare, Procter & Gamble, Hugo Boss Fragrances, Sony Electronics, Taco Bell, United Airlines, US Army, Visa, and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. Further in Europe they have deals with GM, IBM, L'Oreal Paris, Nokia Nseries, Unilever, Virgin Money, Vodafone and Warner Brothers.

"Joost has attracted partners from every major brand category because we offer an advertising platform that is similar to TV, with high-quality programming; and we're providing unparalleled user statistics and insights, as well as an unmatched level of interactivity, targetability and measurability," said David Clark, executive vice president of global advertising, Joost. "Our launch partners and their creative teams are a tremendous asset for Joost, as we work together to create inventive ads that allow them to reach and interact with consumers in new and compelling ways."

I'm sure this is where Google would have liked to take YouTube but unfortunately for them, Joost beat them to the punch. The question is, when Joost launches to the public will YouTube continue to thrive? And how will the sharing features stack up to YouTubes?

One of the huge challenges for YouTube is how to license clips exported from copyright material. These clips are only legal if the original copyright holder has granted permission for them to be uploaded. Further, the law around DMCA states no firm may reap profits (ads) off illegally posted content, and further safe harbours these copyright offenders through something called a take down request. So YouTube allows this illegal content to be posted, knowing they cannot be held liable, and when copyright owners request the content be removed, YouTube must do so ASAP or be taken to court.

There have been rumors in the mix about the big networks collaborating on a clip sharing site which would rival YouTube but have 100% high quality legal content. This is something that Joost is doing now, and it will be interesting to see if the big media companies embrace their idea, or continue to go down their own road.

Unless ALL the networks collaborate on a video application it will be very tough to take on Joost once it gains traction (and increases program availability). And again as CyberNet has reported:

"Joost was started by Niklas Zennstrm and Janus Friis. Recognize those names? They were the two founders of file-sharing service Kazaa, and Skype. They swept up $2.69 billion when Skype was acquired by eBay, so clearly they’re not running into problems financing the Joost deal."

Over and Out!

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