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Viacom Gets Joost Up

Media conglomerate Viacom hasn’t been too happy with Google’s YouTube online video service, asking the service to remove thousands of clips from Viacom programming (including bits of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, which have been popular on the YouTube). It appeared the two organizations had reached a détente of sorts in October 2006, but just a couple weeks ago Viacom again went to YouTube and demanded it remove all Viacom content from the service. And let’s not forget that, in addition to Comedy Central, Viacom also controls content from MTV, Nickelodeon, VH!, CMT, Spike TV, and BET—the total number of clips involved in the takedown demand was widely reported to total near 100,000. And Viacom made its displeasure clear in a statement: “It has become clear that YouTube is unwilling to come to a fair market agreement that would make Viacom content available to YouTube users. YouTube and Google retain all of the revenue generated from this practice, without extending fair compensation to the people who have expended all of the effort and cost to create it.”

Now, Viacom seems to have thrown out all hope of reaching an accord with Google and YouTube, and instead has thrown its weight—and video content—behind Joost, the Internet video service being developed by the founders of Skype and currently in closed beta.

Under the agreement, content from Viacom’s MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, and BET Networks will be available on the Joost platform when it launches; shows slated to be available include MTV’s Real World,Punk’d,Laguna Beach, and Beavis & Butthead; Comedy Centrals’ Stella,CCP’s, and Freak Show; VH1’s Flavor of Love,I Love New York; and I Love New York; BET’s Beef,DMX,Soul of a Man, and American Gangster, along with programming from Nickelodeon, CMT, MTV2, Spike TV, mtvU, and Gametrailers.com. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Joost will enable users to watch Viacom content on their computers for free, compete with Web 2.0 discussion, social networking, annotation, and community features.

“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 CEO. “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. […] 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.”

Viacom isn’t Joost’s first partner—they also have agreements with Warner Music Group and production company Endemol—but Viacom certainly represents a big feature in Joost’s cap.

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