Joost to Deliver Viacom Content

NEW YORK Just weeks after a much-publicized standoff with YouTube, Viacom has entered into a partnership with upstart Web video company Joost to deliver content from MTV, VH1, BET and Paramount Pictures, among others, via Joost’s online TV platform.

Viacom said it plans to offer a wealth of free shows via Joost, ranging from MTV’s Laguna Beach, Beavis & Butthead and The Real World; VH1’s Flavor of Love and Surreal Life; and BET’s Comic View, along with programs from Logo, Comedy Central, MTV2 and CMT.

The company also plans to release several full-length Paramount movies on the new service, which will officially launch during the first half of 2007 following an extended beta-test period began last fall.

Theoretically, like YouTube, Web users would be able to watch on-demand clips from their favorite shows whenever they want using Joost. But unlike YouTube, Joost users can only view content when using a downloadable Joost player. In addition, they cannot share clips or post them on their own sites, thus ensuring that its partners’ copyrights are protected.

While not mentioning YouTube directly, Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman made it clear in a statement that Joost’s business model appealed to the company’s desire to protect its long-term investments.

“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,” Dauman said.

Joost is designed to re-create broadcast quality video on PCs and Macs, while also facilitating more Web 2.0 features, such as instant messaging among viewers.

During the beta-test period, Joost will not feature any advertising, though ads will be a major part of the service at launch, according to officials.