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Joost gets financial boost

CBS Corp., Viacom buy minor stake

CBS Corp., Viacom and Hong Kong’s Li Ka Shing Foundation are among the industry players that have injected $45 million into Internet TV operator Joost. VC giants Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital are the lead investors among the new group.

Joost is a peer-to-peer streaming service set up by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstroem, the pair who previously founded Skype. It offers video content to viewers for free via 150 channels. Selection and channels vary according to territory and rights.

Warner Bros. TV announced earlier this month that it will launch two channels on Joost — WBTV: Sci Fi Fix and WBTV: Before They Were Mega Stars (Daily Variety, May 8). CBS and Viacom also provide shows including “CSI,” “Survivor” and “Punk’d.”

LKSF is the charitable arm of billionaire investor Li Ka-shing, who controls Hutchison Telecom and has various media investments in Hong Kong and Asia. Li’s investment is seen as potentially helping Joost expand into Asia and onto 3G mobile phones.

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