Joost Assets Acquired By Online-Ad Firm Adconian


Joost is officially toast.

The remaining assets of Joost -- an Internet TV startup that had raised more than $45 million from Viacom, CBS and other investors -- will be acquired by online-advertising firm Adconion Media Group for an undisclosed sum.

In a statement Janus Friis, co-founder of Joost, said, "Over the past few months we have been actively exploring strategic options for Joost, and have concluded that the sale of certain of its assets to Adconion is in the best interests of Joost. Adconion has a strong technological platform and a compelling business model, and we believe that both businesses will benefit as a result of this acquisition."

Time Warner Cable had been rumored to be exploring the possibility of acquiring Joost, while Comcast was said to have flatly turned down any interest in the startup.

Former Cisco Systems exec Mike Volpi stepped down as CEO of Joost in June, and was replaced by Matt Zelesko, who was previously vice president of engineering for Comcast Interactive Media. Volpi is now embroiled in a legal dispute with Joost's founders -- Friis and Niklas Zennström -- over Volpi and Index Ventures' attempt to acquire a large stake in Skype, which was also founded by Friis and Zennström.

About a dozen Joost employees will be joining Adconion, including Zelesko, according to Adconian spokeswoman Kerry Vance.

Joost, founded in 2006 under the code name The Venice Project, was aiming to deliver online TV using peer-to-peer distribution technology. That never took off, because users resisted downloaded the proprietary software, while sites like YouTube and Hulu offered much easier access to millions of video clips.

In June, Joost abandoned its direct-to-consumer strategy, in announcing it would pursue a "white-label" business model to license its video platform to media companies.  Adconion, according to the announcement Tuesday, plans to continue to pursue the revised strategy.

With the Joost acquisition, Adconion.TV will add to its library of professionally produced video content available for targeted preroll advertisements across 2,000 publishers. Adconion claims its content network reaches nearly 300 million unique users per month, or one-third of the global Internet population.

"Video is a top priority for our company, and through the acquisition of the Joost assets we will be able to provide advertisers, content owners and Web site publishers with an end-to-end global video platform and cross-channel video and display ad-serving solution," Adconion CEO Tyler Moebius said in announcing the deal. " We'll also continue to operate, providing clients with a destination site to showcase and distribute their branded entertainment content."

Privately held Adconian is based in London, and has North American headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif.