Online venture will offer free TV content worldwide

LONDON — The ambitious online TV endeavor created by the founders of Skype, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, known as The Venice Project, will be launched as Joost.com.

In a statement released Tuesday the company hailed the venture as combining “the best of TV and the best of the Internet” by creating what is claimed to be a “piracy-proof” online platform designed to persuade media owners that the service is secure.

Joost CEO Frederick de Wahl said: “People are looking for increased choice and flexibility in their TV experience, while the entertainment industry needs to retain control over their content.

“We have married that consumer desire with the industry’s interests.”

The service will be funded by advertising and plans to give auds broadcast-quality video content for free.

The initiative has been hailed as the world’s first global broadband TV service but technologists are skeptical that Joost will be able to deliver what it promises.

“It is technically iffy in terms of scalability,” said a leading TV technologist. “The Internet infrastructure is not capable of supporting this kind of mass market venture but it may be in the future.”

Zennstrom and Friis sold Skype to eBay in 2005 for $2.7 billion.

Joost is expected to roll out later this year.

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