Joost Flips Switch with Turner, Sony Shows

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Internet-video distributor Joost launched commercially Tuesday and signed several new content suppliers, including Turner Broadcasting System.

Joost -- which relies on peer-to-peer Internet technology to quickly deliver ad-supported Internet-video clips -- also cut content deals with Hasbro, the National Hockey League, Sports Illustrated and Sony Pictures Television.

Joost is also talking with several other content suppliers about providing programming, including media giants Disney, News Corp. and NBC Universal, executive vice president of content strategy and acquisition Yvette Alberdingk Thim told Multichannel News.

Tuesday also marked the first day Joost began running paid advertising. It cut deals with more than 30 blue-chip brands, including Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Nike.

Thim said Joost will run traditional 30-second TV spots, in addition to unique ads, including one advertising unit she described as a “hand-raiser,” in which the ad drifts across the screen.

Joost’s largest previous programming deal before Tuesday was a pact it struck with Viacom in February, which gave it rights to shows on MTV and BET and content from Paramount Pictures.

Tuesday’s agreements give Joost access to dozens of new programs, including: Aqua Teen Hunger Force on Adult Swim; CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and Larry King Live; Turner South’s Home Plate and Southern Home by Design; Charlie’s Angels, Spiderman, Starsky & Hutch and SWAT from Sony Pictures Television; SI swimsuit photo shoots with Marissa Miller, Brooklyn Decker and Jessica White; vintage NHL games and highlights from regular-season and Stanley Cup Playoff games; and two channels based on Hasbro properties Transformers and G.I. Joe.

While Joost is describing Tuesday’s rollout as a commercial launch, Thim said Web surfers will need invites from one of a few hundred-thousand beta users in order to access the service this week. But by the end of the month, Joost will be completely open to the public Internet, and Joost expects to serve “millions” of users soon thereafter, she added.

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