Joost chief: 'We're not trying to replace TV'

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CANNES -- Eyeballs, long tails and fat bellies were the body parts of the moment during Internet TV sessions here on Wednesday.

Joost chief executive Mike Volpi kicked off the day's Internet TV focus by saying that users, when given the choice, move to the longer tail, which is the preserve of Internet TV.

Volpi told a standing-room-only session that more television choice has a positive impact on viewing habits.

"We are not trying to replace TV," he said. "We create a niche to give viewers content they never had access to before."

The sweet spot at the moment is the "fat belly" -- premium branded content from companies like National Geographic and AXN that lends itself to on-demand.

The whole idea of Internet TV is to increase the time audiences spend accessing television content rather than to cannibalize existing viewership.

"Choice expands demand," Volpi said, encouraging content owners to put their best content on the Internet and "not just the stuff that isn't being watched anywhere else."

He also discouraged exclusive Internet distribution on dedicated Web sites, saying that the best way to generate usage is to be "open" and everywhere.

"The best way to monetize content is open relationships between content owners and distributors," he said.

"Content owners' business is not distribution, it's making good content," Volpi said, predicting that the Internet would, over the next 10 years, become the dominant way people consume content.

Volpi said 2 million users have downloaded the Joost technology since the beta site launched in April.

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