CBS, Viacom contribute to $45M Joost funding

By Cory Bergman Comment

The peer-to-peer video site Joost has landed a big $45 million funding round with five investors: Index Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Li Ka Shing Foundation, CBS Corporation and Viacom. “We’ve carefully selected these investors from a variety of interested parties, as they are best-in-class in their respective arenas and bring unique assets to Joost that will enable us to significantly accelerate growth and development of the Company,” said Janus Friis, co-founder of Joost. Press release…

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Joostâ„¢, the world’s first broadcast-quality Internet television service, today announced that five selected parties have collectively invested approximately $45 million in the company. Each party invested in a minority percentage of the company. This funding will enable Joost (www.joost.com) to accelerate product development, global expansion, localization, and service offerings.

Founded in January 2006 by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström, Joost is powered by a secure, efficient, Internet platform that enables premium interactive, advertising-supported, video experiences while providing copyright protection for content owners and creators. Joost can be accessed with a broadband Internet connection and offers content to viewers for free.

“This funding represents a tremendous vote of confidence in Joost’s platform,” said Janus Friis, co-founder of Joost. “We’ve carefully selected these investors from a variety of interested parties, as they are best-in-class in their respective arenas and bring unique assets to Joost that will enable us to significantly accelerate growth and development of the Company.”

Index Ventures, a leading European venture capital firm, which invests in impactful technologies that have global reach, led the round with Sequoia Capital, the premier venture capital firm in the world. Sequoia Capital has been the first investor and business partner in companies that make up 10% of the NASDAQ’s value. In combination, Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital bring unrivaled expertise and alliances in Europe, Asia and North America.

Danny Rimer, general partner of Index Ventures said, “We are excited to be working with Niklas and Janus once again as we see the same ground-breaking potential in Joost that we saw in Skype. By leveraging proven P2P architecture and assembling a world class management team, they have made a powerful idea simple and brought new services to market in record time. Our investment in Joost signals Index Ventures’ continued commitment to investing in impactful technologies.”

Roelof Botha, general partner, Sequoia Capital, added, “Feature length video on the Internet has been long on promise and short on delivery for some time. Full screen commercial content delivered online has simply not been compelling for the viewer and has been far too costly for the content owners. Joost allows content owners to reach audiences of any size at any time where the viewer can ‘lean back’ to enjoy an immersive yet interactive video experience. At the same time, Joost enables brand marketers to efficiently deliver precisely targeted and measurable advertisements. This ability poises the company to expand the video distribution business and capture an enormous market opportunity.”

Li Ka-shing, chairman of Hutchison Whampoa Limited and Cheung Kong Holdings, invested in Joost through his charitable foundation, the Li Ka Shing Foundation. Mr. Li is a valued partner in Asia. Joost expects to work with Mr. Li and his respective affiliated companies, to expand its distribution in China and other parts of Asia.

Mr. Li Ka-shing stated, “We were excited about the opportunity to invest in Niklas and Janus. With the quality, content, speed and usability of Joost’s platform, and the community-targeted service offerings, we expect Joost will revolutionize the Internet television market.”

As previously announced, CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS, CBS.A) and Viacom are also content partners, providing channels and programming on Joost.

In addition to its investment, CBS has contributed more than 2000 hours of CBS entertainment, sports and news programming. Entertainment programming offered includes the full CSI franchise, SURVIVOR, NCIS, NUMB3RS and FAT ACTRESS, news content includes THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC, FACE THE NATION, clips form THE EARLY SHOW, 48 HOURS, and CBS SUNDAY MORNING and sports content includes COLLEGE FOOTBALL HIGHLIGHT SHOW, NFL TODAY HOT TOPIC, GAME OF THE WEEK, ONE2ONE and GO PRO OR GO HOME.

Also an investor in the round, Viacom is a “Key Launch Partner” providing channels and programming from across all of its properties including: Comedy Central, MTV, VH1 and Paramount Pictures. MTV will offer popular shows, both past and present, including Laguna Beach, Beavis & Butthead, Real World, Punk’d and My Super Sweet Sixteen, while COMEDY CENTRAL will feature episodes from Stella, CCP’s and Freak Show. Also, Paramount Pictures will be providing full-length feature films from its catalog of classics and recent releases.

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