Posts Tagged ‘Viacom’

Viacom seems to have cooled on Joost; is it headed to the Deadpool?

joost logoIt looks as though the once high-and-mighty Joost is running out of juice.

Joost, the peer-to-peer Internet TV service that once raised $45 million in 2006 from investors such as CBS, Viacom, and Sequoia Capital Index Ventures, is revamping its tech platform [last100] with a Web-based service that requires only a plug-in to play in browsers. It’s due sometime this summer.

Currently Joost requires a downloaded desktop client to play peer-to-peer content. It works with Microsoft operating systems XP and Vista and Apple’s OS X (but Intel processors only).

The Web plug-in is clearly a move to stay afloat and relative amid the success of an online streaming site like Hulu, but two of Joost’s biggest investors, CBS and Viacom, have little to say about the service these days.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman was less than enthusiastic about Joost in an interview with paidContent, which asked: “Is the service where he [Dauman] thought it would be?”

“We come at Joost or any other platforms from the point of view that we cannot predict — nor did we in that case or any other case — predict which ones are going to be hugely successful, moderately successful, which won’t work,” he said.

OK then.

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Report: Blockbuster in talks to join Hollywood Video-On-Demand joint venture

“We’re exploring our options, so it’s not surprising there are rumors out there”, says a Blockbuster spokeswoman.

Report: Blockbuster in talks to join Viacom-led Video-On-Demand JVThe latest rumor, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, is that the company best known for its ‘bricks and mortar’ video rental business wants to join the recently announced Hollywood joint venture, led by Viacom, to create a new premium TV channel and Video-On-Demand (VOD) service. The other existing partners are Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate.

In return for investing, Blockbuster would get digital rights to the new channel’s programming, “people familiar with the situation” told the WSJ.

Blockbuster is an obvious possible partner. It used to be owned by Viacom, whose executives know its business well. Blockbuster also has been casting its net wide for new partners as it attempts to spruce up its video-rental business model with new digital ventures. Last year, it acquired Internet movie provider Movielink to offer video-download services to customers, and it has focused on forging exclusive content deals for its various services.

Ironically, the Viacom-led joint venture is already being compared negatively to the original Movielink service, which started life in 2002 as a joint venture between Paramount, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and MGM, but failed to resonate with users. Last August Movielink was acquired by Blockbuster.

Viacom, Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate form 'game changing' joint venture

If you were going to announce a new ‘game changing’ joint venture involving four leading Hollywood studios, you wouldn’t choose to do it on a Sunday, right? Because that’s precisely what Viacom, Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate have done, with their newly formed premium TV channel and VOD service, which will be rolled out in the fall of 2009.

While details given in the press release are thin on the ground, plastered over by a very generous helping of hyperbole, the yet-to-be named “Innovative Premium Entertainment Service” will offer new and classic feature films and original TV programing from each of the studios involved, and in what looks like a major shake up of the traditional U.S. pay TV market (lookout HBO, Showtime and Starz), the joint venture will have first access to upcoming films such as “Iron Man,” “Star Trek,” “The Pink Panther 2,” “Cloverfield” and “Robocop.” The combined back catalog will also cover classic hits such as “Dirty Dancing,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Crash,” “Braveheart,” “Forrest Gump,” the “Godfather” series and the Rocky and James Bond franchises, notes Hollywood Reporter.

However, of more significance to last100, the new joint venture will have a strong online component, according to an interview given to paidContent by Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman: “As we go forward and make further announcements, you will see that this will be oriented toward the consumer. It will also meet the needs of varying distributors and take advantage of online distribution…innovative both in presenting the content and in distributing it.” Dauman says that the joint venture will enable the studios involved to have greater control over their own destiny compared to traditional distribution deals, in terms of what they can and can’t offer online during competing release windows. This suggests to me that we may see paid-for downloads of premium content offered at the same time as pay TV.