Joost inks content deals with Turner, Sony

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NEW YORK -- Joost, the highly anticipated Internet television service from the creators of Skype, has signed several key content partners including Turner Broadcasting and Sony Pictures Television, the company said Tuesday.

Joost also is edging closer to launch, announcing that the service has begun "commercial availability," allowing beta testers to invite others to join.

"Anderson Cooper 360ยบ" and "Larry King Live" will headline the offerings from CNN, and the portal also will distribute "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" and "Robot Chicken" from Adult Swim.

"Online distribution is extremely important to Turner," said Dennis Quinn, executive vp business development at the Time Warner unit. "With Joost we are confident that our programming is secure and distributed in the high-quality format that is true to our brands."

Sony will make classic television programming like "Charlie's Angels," "Spider-Man" and "Starsky & Hutch" available on Joost.

The portal also will distribute video shorts and interviews relating to Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, and they have partnered with the NHL to broadcast classic games, full game replays and highlights from the regular season and the Stanley Cup playoffs. Joost also will broadcast old episodes of Hasbro's "GI Joe: A Real American Hero" and "Transformers."

Joost has previously announced partnerships with Viacom Inc. and Warner Music Group Corp., and they are part of CBS Corp.'s Interactive Audience Network, set to launch in the summer.

This new content will be available to consumers Thursday. Viewers will be able to build a preferred list of channels or browse the channel catalog to find content.

In addition to the new programming, campaigns from 32 companies, including the Coca-Cola Co. and Nike Inc., will begin airing on Joost.

Joost beta users will also now have an unlimited number of invites to send to others who wish to join the community.

"It's exciting for us to enter this phase and truly begin executing our vision," Joost co-founder Janus Friis said. "The ability to make Joost a viable business, versus just a cool technology, lies in our ability to bring together advertisers, content owners and viewers in an interactive community-driven environment."

Joost employs peer-to-peer technology to distribute TV shows and video over the Web. It was created by Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, also the founders of Skype, which was acquired by eBay in 2005, and the Kazaa file-sharing network.
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