Evolution of the Joost/Viacom deal

10 07 2007

More clues emerge on Viacom’s stake in Joost and whether the latest development is merely an expansion of that arrangement, or a sign that Viacom’s interest is in acquiring Joost outright .

Viacom’s VH-1 is to premiere the entire series of its new scripted comedy I Hate My 30s from next Monday, 10 days ahead of its first network airing. “We see this as Phase 2 in creating value with content owners,” gushed Alberdingk Thijm, executive vp content strategy and acquisition for Joost. What was phase 1? Putting more stuff up there than a few vids of girls in bikinis, boys on skateboards and black and white episodes of Lassie. 

Each episode will feature with pre-roll spots, together with cross-promotional for other Viacom interests on mobile and VOD.

The Viacom tie-up was opportunistic: Joost was desparate for big brand content partners and Viacom was looking at a way to put one in the eye of Google/YouTube following the great content take-down.

The key to the announcement is exclusivity in content before it can be watched anywhere else. Something which a handful of the major networks and MySpace are already wise to.

Prediction: irrespective of Viacom’s ulterior motives in the Joost deal, the relationship remains key for the latter. There are the beginnings of a “look what we did for Viacom” proposition in the making; handy to have up your sleeve at a time when the smart Madison Avenue / Charlotte Street money may be moving away from traditional media, yet many clients remain nervous about committing their buck to (in their view) such a nascent space.