Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Joost signs Creative Artists to scout out programs

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Tue May 22, 2007 3:53PM EDT

STANFORD, California (Reuters) - Joost, the Internet television service backed by global media players, said on Tuesday talent scouts Creative Artists Agency (CAA) will help it lure big-name Hollywood programming to its service.

Joost, which was founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, who also started Web telephone calling company Skype, already has signed up name-brand programming and top advertisers for its service, although it remains in test mode.

The Luxembourg-based company offers 150 broadcast-quality television channels over the Web across a range of genres from films to soccer to cartoons to documentaries.

Joost aims to combine TV-like viewing with the wide choice and user control of the latest generation of Web services.

It is seeking to offer whole TV shows from both established producers and independent professional videomakers, in contrast to YouTube, the world's most popular online video watching service, which specializes in short, user-generated programs.

"CAA will provide Joost greater access to programming through our relationships with networks, studios, record labels, artists and independently-controlled content libraries," Michael Yanover, head of business development at CAA, said in a statement.

Earlier this month, it received around $45 million from five backers, including the biggest Internet financing names in Silicon Valley, China and Europe. Joost has signed as a backer YouTube's biggest antagonist -- media conglomerate Viacom Inc., along with sister company CBS Corp.. It also has struck deals with 31 brand advertisers globally.

So far, Viacom has agreed to supply Joost with programs from MTV Networks, BET Networks and its film studio, Paramount Pictures. CBS has agreed to provide "CSI" crime series, CBS Evening News, and "Survivor."