As noted earlier, this deal (see Techmeme discussion) is more about building up a potential YouTube rival than it is about anything else. That said Joost's peer-to-peer architecture has the potential to trump those grainy YouTube items. So what does all of this really mean? Let's parse the statement a bit...
Under the agreement, Viacom's divisions -- MTV Networks, BET Networks and Paramount Pictures -- will provide television and theatrical programming on the Joost platform. Founded by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, Joost is powered by a secure, efficient, piracy-proof Internet platform that enables premium interactive video experiences while guaranteeing copyright protection for content owners and creators. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
What Viacom really wanted to say:
Take that Google. These guys actually care about piracy. Our content will look prettier with Joost anyway. As for financial terms, we'll have a stake in Joost. That way if you ever decide to buy them we'll have some payola too.
Joost will allow users to have free access to thousands of programs and channels not readily available on the Web.
Currently available in limited beta, Joost combines the best of TV and the best of the Internet by offering viewers a unique, TV-like experience enhanced with the choice, control and flexibility of Web 2.0. Joost is the first online, global TV distribution platform, bringing together advertisers, content owners and viewers in an interactive, community-driven environment.
What Viacom was really thinking:
Get me the flack that wrote this release. He forgot P2P. You can never have enough buzzwords you know.
"We're extremely pleased to be working with Joost, and couldn't be prouder to be a key partner in the launch of the next generation in broadband video technology," said Philippe Dauman, Viacom President and Chief Executive Officer. "We have the number one portfolio of entertainment sites in the world and unrivaled distribution on mobile devices, but we're determined to keep pushing and growing our digital presence and bring our programming to audiences on every platform and device that they want. In addition to strong partnerships we have with traditional distributors, we will continue to seek out partners like Joost, which has created an exciting breakthrough platform that represents not only a fantastic user experience, but one that is built on a compelling and sustainable business model that respects both content creators and consumers."
What Dauman was thinking:
That wordy quote better prove we're hip--not to mention digital. I really need our market cap to go up.
Janus Friis, founder of Joost said, "We built this platform from the ground up, with companies like Viacom in mind. Our platform provides scalable distribution, in a completely safe environment that protects the interest of content owners and advertisers, while delighting viewers. We're extremely excited about this partnership and look forward to enabling Viacom to reach new audiences for its new and classic programming."
What Friis meant to say:
With Viacom supporting us our exit strategy becomes clearer. Who should I call first? Sumner? Rupe? Sergei and Larry (what's another video site)? eBay (it worked for Niklas)?