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Viacom logs on to Joost

Conglom links with Video Web site

Viacom has found a video Web site willing to play much nicer than YouTube.

While its feud with the Google-owned No. 1 video site continues, Viacom has become the first to pact with Joost, a new Netco focused exclusively on distributing premium content via broadband.

Because Joost doesn’t accept any user-generated videos out of which it needs to filter pirated content, and because it is letting networks set their own rules for advertising and distribution, the deal is much simpler than the one Viacom and other big media companies are attempting to forge with YouTube.

“We give content owners huge flexibility to program in whatever way they want,” said Yvette Alberdingkthijm, exec VP of content acquisition for Joost.

Viacom’s two major complaints when it halted negotiations and ordered YouTube to pull down more than 100,000 copyrighted clips were that the site hasn’t implemented technology to screen out pirated videos and that it wasn’t offering a fair revenue split for ads around its content.

Conglom will distribute an array of new and archived MTV and BET shows, along with some Paramount pics, on Joost at its own schedule and with its own selection of advertising. Though financial terms weren’t available, it’s believed Viacom will get the vast majority of ad revenue.

Joost, which hasn’t publicly launched its service, is in talks with most other big media companies in hopes of acquiring a broad library of content before it launches. Netco uses peer-to-peer technology to stream longform, high-quality content.

It was started last year by the two founders of Kazaa, a P2P network that shut down after facing a barrage of studio and label lawsuits, and online phone service Skype.

Beyond pirated downloads, however, it’s not yet clear whether Web surfers want to watch TV or feature-length video on the Internet, especially with advertising inserted.

Viral video sites like YouTube have succeeded by focusing on low-quality video of less than 10 minutes in length that loads very quickly.

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