And if it turns into a billion-dollar takeover target, that’s not bad either

Internet television start-up Joost has a lot going for it as it approaches launch — the reputations of co-founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, who have previously disrupted the music industry with Kazaa and the telecom industry with Skype; a novel peer-to-peer architecture; an emphasis on copyright protection that has helped it land a bunch of major content deals; and a growing buzz. But the most appealing quality of Joost, at least in the view of partners and investors, may be that it is not owned by Google or Apple. Today, five of those parties added $45 million in fuel to make sure the company reaches escape velocity.

Among the investors are Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, Europe’s Index Ventures and the Li Ka Shing Foundation, founded by the chairman of Asian conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. The other two are entertainment companies, CBS and, notably, Viacom, which earlier tried to cut a deal with Google’s YouTube, then gave up, filed a billion-dollar suit and took its video business to … Joost.

Still, the skies aren’t totally clear. So far, Joost’s service has been available only in beta, and even with a limited number of users, there have been some nagging issues with the technology. Those will need to be dealt with before they’re aggravated by a surge of new users and heavier streaming demands. But for now, it’s all systems go.


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  • Mike

    Thanks for the JOOST reference in today’s GMSV. I checked the site and it does preview an interesting perspective on TV’s evolution. The content reflected an entertaining alternative to current subscription TV. I’m reviewing the forums for ways to wrangle a beta invite.