Joost, a company attempting to broadcast television via the Internet, said Tuesday it has signed several new content distribution agreements, including one with Turner Broadcasting System Inc. to "air" CNN programs.
In addition, the company announced its "commercial availability" _ which means it will allow beta testers to invite anyone to use the system, though people still cannot sign up directly via the company's Web site.
Joost was co-founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, the entrepreneurs who upset the music industry with the Kazaa file-sharing service and then developed Skype, the Internet telephone system that was bought by eBay Inc. for at least US$2.6 billion (euro2 billion) in 2005.
Joost operates by distributing shows from user-to-user over the Internet, using its software interface, which is free to download. It plans to be ad-supported.
In Tuesday's deal, Joost said it will air episodes of "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" and "Robot Chicken" from Turner's Adult Swim network, while it would air "Larry King Live," among other programs from Turner's CNN, which is owned by Time Warner Inc.
In addition, Joost announced several other content deals Tuesday: Sony will run episodes of several old TV series including "Charlie's Angels" and "Starsky & Hutch," on Joost; Sports Illustrated will run photo shoots and programs about its swimsuit issue; the National Hockey League will broadcast vintage games and game highlights; and Hasbro will run old episodes of "Transformers" and "G.I. Joe."
Joost has previously signed deals with Viacom Inc., Warner Music Group Corp. and CBS Corp; it has advertising trials with numerous companies, including Coca-Cola Co., Nike Inc., Microsoft Corp., Procter & Gamble Co., Sony Corp. and Visa.
Joost is seen as one of the primary competitors to Google Inc.'s YouTube in bringing television to the Internet.
It is owned by Luxembourg-based TVP Holdings SA, but it has offices in New York, London and Leiden, Netherlands, and expects to incorporate under the Joost name.
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