Google’s YouTube has lost another possible partner. Viacom announced yesterday that efforts to reach a revenue-sharing agreement with YouTube have failed, and so the company is turning to Joost — formerly the Venice Project — to host online clips from Viacom’s programming. If you’re not familiar with Viacom, you’ll probably recognize the names of its divisions that will be providing television and movie programming to Joost: MTV Networks, BET Networks, and Paramount Pictures. This means you’ll be able to watch Comedy Central and Nickelodeon and Country Music Television on your computer (or on your television if it’s connected to a computer with Internet service).
The producers of copyrighted video content such as Viacom have been giving YouTube the choice of either sharing in the revenues generated by the site or pulling the hundreds of thousands of copyrighted clips from the service. With deals such as this one with Viacom, we may see fewer and fewer clips of copyrighted programming on YouTube which could affect its long-term viability.
I am fortunate to be one of the beta testers for the Joost service, and it appears to have great potential. The user interface is appealing and relatively easy to navigate. Video quality is also good, though I do have a high-speed broadband connection to support it. It’s still in beta testing, so we’ve got a way to go before we’ll know what the service will actually look like and what the quality of service will be, but the early results look like it could be a big success.