Joost Signs Ad Deals

NEW YORK Much-anticipated Internet TV platform Joost will launch with over 30 advertisers on board, including Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Coca-Cola and Nike.

The initial three-month commitments will be used to test ad models for the service when it launches in the coming weeks, said Brad Elders, svp, advertising at Joost. The service, created by Kazaa and Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, has already signed several content deals with Viacom, National Geographic, CBS, Warner Music Group as well as niche providers. Unlike YouTube, the platform will not carry user-submitted videos.

Of the 31 launch advertisers, a third come from Interpublic Group, which plans to test the platform via its Emerging Media Lab. IPG clients running spots on Joost include General Motors, Microsoft, Taco Bell and the Army.

At least initially, most of the ad placements will be standard 15- and 30-second TV spots, but unlike broadcast television, which can devote up to 15 minutes of every hour to commercials, Joost plans to limit advertiser messages to three minutes per hour.

“Consumers don’t hate advertising,” Elders said. “They hate too much of it and bad advertising.”

To improve the ads’ relevance, Joost is bringing Web-like targeting and measurement to the ads. Joost plans to collect basic demographic and behavioral data to target spots to specific audiences, Elders said. It will also report to advertisers the results of their ads, including clicks to see additional content and drop-off count.

Advertisers like Intel and HP are running spots both in the U.S. and Europe, while some are only targeting one market. Elders said “a handful” would run extra video on the service that lets viewers access more content.

While the ads will mostly be standard, some will diverge from the norm to test new ways to reach consumers. One advertiser is using a “hand raiser” option that will show an ad invitation during content a viewer can click for more information. Joost is working directly with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to develop custom executions for HP.