Viacom gives Joost a boost

Is Joost old media's answer to YouTube?Viacom, just days after telling Google's YouTube to pull all of its content over copyright problems, is expected to announce a licensing deal with Internet video startup Joost.

Is Joost old media's answer to YouTube?

Viacom, just days after telling Google's YouTube to pull all of its content over copyright problems, is expected to announce a licensing deal with Internet video startup Joost. The deal, reported in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), gives Joost instant heft. Joost has signed up Time Warner Music and now has hundreds of hours of video from MTV, Comedy Central and Spike.

If Joost turns out to be a hit, old media won't have to do something wacky--like try to create an alleged YouTube killer that's destined to fail. Joost was previously known as The Venice Project and has the type of startup credibility that can give YouTube a run. Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the men behind file-sharing network Kazaa and Skype, created Joost.

Companies like Viacom are in a pickle that Joost can help them solve. The pickle: Content players need something to compete with YouTube. The reason is clear: Viacom, Time Warner et al can't afford to have Google swipe the advertiser relationship. YouTube was a neat little promotional vehicle, but has become a threat since it was acquired by Google. Companies like Viacom don't want YouTube to be the future of media.

Chances are good that other players will now line up behind Joost. The games are just beginning.

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