Viacom Gets Joost

Viacom Inc. and Internet television service Joost announced that Viacom's MTV, BET and Paramount Pictures divisions will provide programming on Joost's broadband platform, which is based on a state-of-the-art, secure, peer-to-peer streaming technology. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Developed by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who previously started the Skype Internet calling service and Kazaa music-sharing site, Joost is currently available in a limited beta version. The Viacom deal raises questions about its efforts to control distribution of its content; while CBS has a content deal with YouTube, a competitor to Joost, its parent company, Viacom--citing copyright concerns--has recently led a campaign to force YouTube to remove Viacom-licensed content from its site.

Joost-enabled viewers can watch Viacom programming on their computers through a customizable platform with content-based links to more information and related Web sites, and utilize plug-in applications, such as instant messaging, message boards, and news tickers.

MTV's launch offerings will include "Laguna Beach," "Beavis & Butthead," "The Real World," "Punk'd" and "My Super Sweet 16." Comedy Central will feature episodes from "Stella," "Comedy Central Presents" and "Freak Show." Country Music Television, MTV2, Logo, Spike TV, mtvU, and will also provide content.

VH1's offerings will include episodes of "Flavor of Love," "Surreal Life," and "I Love New York." BET Networks' will show "Beef," "DMX: Soul of a Man," "BET Comic View" and "American Gangster." Paramount Pictures will provide full-length feature films from their catalog of classics and recent releases.