Viacom Signs Online Video Deal with Skype Founders

21 February 2007

NEW YORK: The innovative entrepreneurs behind internet phone service Skype and web file-sharing network Kazaa have reportedly inked a deal with Viacom, which will see the media and entertainment giant's TV programming posted on the Joost online video service.

The agreement with Joost, launched last year by Scandinavian duo Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, comes just two weeks after Viacom ordered YouTube to ditch around 100,000 unauthorized clips after the parties failed to finalize a distribution deal [WARC News: 06-Feb-07].

Although Joost and Viacom have given no dollar details, previous agreements have seen the latter receive two-thirds of the advertising revenue and other compensation.

Comments ceo Philippe Dauman: "We're interested in distribution of our content on as many platforms as possible, provided we can operate in a secure environment."

He adds: "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."

Unlike YouTube, which carries mostly short user-generated video clips, Joost runs full program episodes with high-quality resolution. Says Friis: "What we're trying to do is real TV online."

Joost's deal with Viacom is its biggest so far, although it has agreements with Warner Music and Endemol, the Dutch production company behind 'reality' show Big Brother.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff