Joost Deal To Bolster Viacom Ad Inventory

The new distribution deal between Viacom and Internet TV startup Joost--which will provide Joost with clips from MTV Networks, BET Networks and Paramount Pictures--won't just enable the startup to launch with a full slate of popular content. The deal also is expected to give advertisers a good deal of new online video inventory.

"There's tons of long-form archived content we hadn't been selling ads against," said Jeremy Zweig, a Viacom spokesman, adding that Viacom will make available a wealth of videos from older shows including "Punk'd," "Beavis & Butthead," and "Real World."

Unlike most video-sharing sites such as YouTube, which are dominated by short clips, Joost--slated to launch later this year--plans to specialize in long-form, high-quality content. In all likelihood, full-length Viacom shows running on Joost will be broken up by one, two, or even three breaks for a single sponsor's spot, said Zweig. Viacom will sell the ads, which will accompany its content.

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Philippe Dauman, Viacom President and CEO, indicated that he will be pursuing deals with additional Internet carriers--with or without Google's YouTube. Earlier this month, Viacom demanded that YouTube remove around 100,000 clips from the site after talks between the companies broke down.

"In addition to strong partnerships we have with traditional distributors, we will continue to seek out partners like Joost," Dauman said in a statement. "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."

Joost, formerly known as The Venice Project, was founded by the same entrepreneurs--Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis--who brought the world Skype and Kazaa.

The startup, which utilizes peer-to-peer networks, has to date struck deals with a handful of content providers, including Warner Music and Endemol, a Dutch production company responsible for "Big Brother."

Along with MTV, Viacom properties providing Joost with content include Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV2, Logo, Spike TV, mtvU, VH1 and BET Networks. Also, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage and Paramount Classics will be providing full-length feature films from their catalog of classics and recent releases.

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