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Joost’s Investors Can Barely Be Nice to It

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You really get the sense from CBS and Viacom that Joost is their forgotten stepchild. Despite their participation in Joost’s $45 million funding round (which in amount alone guarantees the company should have some time to figure out what it’s doing), the companies’ executives have to be pressed in interviews to even bring up the Internet TV software company, making it more of a has-been than it is already with its disappointing user adoption and inferior content library.

Though CBS Interactive president Quincy Smith loves to talk about new opportunities for online television, the only time you hear Joost come up is in a list of CBS investments or of its 300-some Audience Network distribution partners.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman could barely manage a compliment for Joost in an interview with paidContent yesterday, and indicated that Viacom won’t participate in Joost’s second round.

On Joost: Viacom was an original investor in the much-hyped video service from the founders of Skype. Is the service where he thought it would be? ”We come at Joost or other platforms from the point of view that we cannot predict — nor did we in that case or any other case — predict which ones are going to be hugely successful, moderately successful, which won’t work. … We root for all the distribution platforms because the more of them there are, the more exposure our content has.” As for Joost, says Dauman, “They’ve been trying different things. They’ve been tweaking the model but we’ve certainly been happy with the relationship.” But will Viacom take part in the start-up’s second round? Doesn’t sound like it. Dauman: “We did receive equity in connection with our original deal and we’re happy where we are. … I don’t think it’s fair to them for me to comment.”

Meanwhile, Joost is working on Plan B, a web app. In order to manage peer-to-peer downloads it will reportedly require a downloaded plug-in (as most high-quality TV streaming tools do). Once Flash includes P2P that could be a different story — though don’t forget Flash is a plug-in too.

Joost’s other investors include Skype founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström (who of course also founded Joost), top-tier venture capital firms Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital, and Hong Kong entrepreneur Li Ka-shing.

9 Responses to “Joost’s Investors Can Barely Be Nice to It”

  1. Fred Samuel

    It will be great to see which dumb-ass investor steps up for this next round. Or perhaps one of its partners will waste huge piles of $$ on a brain-dead acquisition. People assume that past-success guarantees future success. They also think they are “exempt” from the perils of over-investment. Some lessons are learned the hard-way.

  2. Don Bardo

    What a circular point of view. CBS and Viacom whine about Joost because it has no content, which is largely because they choose not to give it content. Where is Daily Show, South Park or Colbert on Joost? They have the power, especially with the coming web app, to make Joost a hit and win as investors and because they created a counter balance to Hulu. But they sit back and do nothing but complain. Typical big company self-destructive b.s.

  3. OK so Joost burned through $45m in the last year. That’s chump change compared to CBS which lost about $7B in market cap in the same time period. VIA has done a little better but nothing special.

    This has got to be good news! For Veoh!

  4. Matt_

    “Where is Joost on the Wii ?”

    Is the question I always ask the Joost staff

    One senior staffer did respond that he would love to see Joost on the Wii ,so there’s hope there in the future …..but will it be too late for Joost by then .-