Joost adds shows, crosses fingers

Even with CBS on board, soon-to-be-launched Internet video portal Joost will have to fight for viewer attention.

Joost, a peer-to-peer video-streaming portal developed by the founders of Skype and to be launched later this spring, along with CBS, announced the addition of CBS shows, including CSI, Survivor, and the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric to the nascent video-platform.

But CBS isn't the first the first broadcast network to get wise to Internet video.

In late March, News Corp. and NBC Universal announced they will form a video distribution network for premium content to rival the content that already appears on Google's YouTube.

The network will debut this summer with thousands of hours of full-length programming, movies and clips from at least a dozen networks and two major film studios, including 24, Heroes, The Simpsons and Little Miss Sunshine.

NBC and News Corp.'s move came only after media giant Viacom filed a $1 billion suit against Google and its YouTube property. Viacom has since partnered with Joost to contribute free content from its MTV Networks, BET Networks and Paramount Pictures division.

Perhaps none of these major media companies would be paying nearly so much attention to the Web if it weren't for the dramatic success of YouTube. Despite its start-up aura, YouTube is the undeniable king of the Web video hill at the moment.

According to Hitwise market research, the video-sharing site's traffic topped that of all of the television network Web sites for the week ending Feb. 17. Fifty-six television cable and broadcast network sites received 0.4865 percent of all U.S. Internet traffic for the week ending Feb. 17, while YouTube received 0.6031 percent.

This is after Google complied with a Viacom demand to pull all of the media company's copyrighted content from YouTube during the week of Feb. 3.

Joost is currently available in an expanded beta. It can be accessed with a broadband Internet connection and offers broadcast-quality content to viewers for free.

Along with CBS and Viacom, Joost is partnered with Toronto-based JumpTV to add portions of its library of video-on-demand television content from 70 countries to its platform.

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