Viacom’s YouTube Foil: Broad Licensing Deal With Joost

Viacom and online TV provider Joost have done a broad distribution deal, all of which should put more pressure on YouTube to work out its disagreements with content owners, the WSJ reported.
The content portion of the deal involves licensing hundreds of hours of programming from Viacom TV properties, as well as movies made by the company’s Paramount studios. Viacom will contribute both current and archival programming to the venture, including programs such as Real World, Laguna Beach, Beavis & Butthead and Flavor of Love.
The deal is said to be similar to what Viacom reportedly offered YouTube before the talks broke down two weeks ago. At that point, Viacom ordered YouTube’s parent Google to remove 100,000 clips belonging to the entertainment company.
A major factor in Viacom’s decision to sign with Joost, which launched in mid-January, was Joost ‘s promise that it would protect Viacom’s copyrights. The same issue was considered a main stumbling block in the company’s talks with Google.
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman spoke to the Journal about the deal, saying, “This assures any potential partners that we’re open for business and that we’re able to enter into transactions with companies that respect our content and the considerations of our business.”
It is still early days for Joost, but it is trying hard to become a place for YouTube refugees…at least the big media companies shying away from YouTube. It was started last year by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the two men behind Kazaa and Skype. It has deals with Warner Music and Endemol, and other smaller companies, but the Viacom agreement is its most far-reaching deal thus far.
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