Joost goes one beta better

Commercial launch of on-demand Web program to feature Anderson Cooper, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," ads, new partnerships.
Written by Caroline McCarthy, Contributor
Joost, the video-on-demand program created by the founders of Skype and Kazaa, announced its commercial launch on Tuesday.

The software, which is based on a peer-to-peer model, is no longer in a private beta test, according to a release from the company. Existing beta testers, who now need to upgrade to a new version of the program, can invite an unlimited number of people to download the Joost console.

The latest version of the software includes commercial content from 32 advertising partners, such as Coca-Cola, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Nike, whose partnerships with Joost were announced earlier this week.

Despite the expanded availability and commercial partnerships, the new version of Joost is still considered to be a beta test. The service remains free.

Joost also announced a number of content offerings on Tuesday that are included in new partnerships with Turner Broadcasting System, the National Hockey League, Sports Illustrated, Hasbro and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The Turner content, which will be available later this week on Joost, comes primarily from the company's Adult Swim and CNN properties: documentaries from CNN Productions, news programs such as Anderson Cooper 360, and Adult Swim cartoons (from Cartoon Network) like Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Additionally, CNN's RSS feed has been added to the Joost news ticker for breaking news.

Content from the other four new partnerships will become available on Joost over the course of the month, the company said. Most of it is focused on "classic programming": Sony Pictures Television will provide vintage TV shows like Starsky & Hutch and Charlie's Angels, and Hasbro will offer two channels based on the Transformers and G.I. Joe animated series from the 1980s.

The NHL partnership, likewise, is set to initially feature classic-game footage, but later this spring, it is also set to provide full Stanley Cup game replays and playoff highlights. Sports Illustrated's content, meanwhile, is set to focus on video and interviews from the creation of this year's swimsuit issue.

Joost's channel availability varies around the world in conjunction with copyright ownership regulations.

Formerly known by its code name, "The Venice Project," Joost launched earlier this year amid much hype. The start-up has already inked a number of other partnerships, ranging from those with major media players like Viacom and CBS to small independent production companies.

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