Developer(s)Joost N.V.
Final releasenone (n/a) [±] K.K.
Preview release
1.1.7 / 18 June 2008; 16 years ago (2008-06-18)
Operating systemWindows XP, Vista;
Mac OS X (x86 only), iOS, PlayStation 3
Available inEnglish

Joost (/ˈst/) was an Internet TV service, created by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis (founders of Skype and Kazaa). During 2007–2008 Joost used peer-to-peer TV (P2PTV) technology to distribute content to their Mozilla-based desktop player; in late 2008 this was migrated to use a Flash-based Web player instead.

Joost began development in 2006. Working under the code name "The Venice Project", Zennström and Friis assembled teams of some 150 software developers in about six cities around the world, including New York City, London, Leiden and Toulouse. According to Zennström at a 25 July 2007 press conference about Skype held in Tallinn, Estonia, Joost had signed up more than a million beta testers, and its launch was scheduled for the end of 2007.[1]

The team signed up with Warner Music, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Productions (Indianapolis 500, IndyCar Series) and production company Endemol for the beta.[2] In February 2007, Viacom entered into a deal with the company to distribute content from its media properties, including MTV Networks, Black Entertainment Television (BET) and film studio Paramount Pictures.

The company went through restructuring several times and sold most of its assets in 2009; it suspended operations in 2012.


P2PTV overlay network serving three video streams.

The program was based on P2PTV technology and was expected to deliver (relaying) near-TV resolution images. It turned a PC into an instant on-demand TV with no need for an additional set-up box. News updates, discussion forums, show ratings, and multi-user chat sessions (often linked to the active stream/channel) were made possible through the use of semi-transparent widget overlays.

The initial version of the software was based on XULRunner and the audio management re-used the ZAP Media Kit. The peer to peer layer for on-demand video came from the Joltid company, which also provided the peer to peer layer of Skype. A peer to peer layer for live video was developed from scratch, with a first trial run broadcasting March Madness 2008.[3] The video playback used the CoreCodec, CoreAVC H.264 video decoder.

Joost soft launched its Widget API on 29 August 2007 under a non-copyleft open source license and encouraged third-party developers to create tools for its TV 2.0 platform.

In 2009 Joost released a special website for the PlayStation 3 Internet browser that took advantage of some of the browser's full screen and 'x' button capabilities. By holding the 'x' button, you could choose various video options using the d-pad.

As opposed to streaming technology in which all clients get the feed from the server, P2P TV technology differs in the sense that the servers serve only a handful of clients; each of the clients in turn propagate the stream to more downstream clients and so on. This moves the distribution costs from the channel owner to the user.


As co-owners of Skype, Friis and Zennström received part of a $2.6 billion cash payment when eBay acquired Skype in 2005, which easily covered the development and marketing cost of their Joost venture. Just a week after launching the service, the founders announced that they had raised an additional $45 million.[4] Sequoia Capital, which backed Yahoo, Google and YouTube; Index Ventures, an early investor in Skype; Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong tycoon; and CBS, the US media group, had all taken “small minority” stakes in the start-up. Viacom was also understood to be among the partners, although the nature of its backing had not been disclosed.

The Joost service was ad-supported, with advertising analogous to that shown on traditional TV, according to former CEO Fredrik de Wahl.[5] Joost had 40 advertisers, including Sony Pictures, BMW, and Sprite.[6] Aside from injected video-advertisements, it served additional interactive advertisements via overlays and short pop-ups that were clickable.


Viacom, Inc., and Joost entered into a content provider agreement for the Joost platform on 20 February 2007. Under the agreement, divisions of Viacom (including MTV Networks, BET Networks and Paramount Pictures) were to license their "television and theatrical programming" to Joost.[7] This came shortly after Viacom requested 100,000 potentially infringing videos to be removed from, which showed a preference by Viacom for the Joost platform over YouTube.[8]

As of 2007, Joost had licensing agreements in place with Ministry of Sound TV, Aardman Animation, Warner Music, the production company Endemol, Fremantle Media, RDF Media, Diversion Media,[9] CBS[10] and CenterStaging's[11] On 1 May 2007, Joost signed a deal to distribute NHL content, including full game replays of the Stanley Cup Finals, and vintage games.[12] Bollywood distributor Eros International also announced a deal with Joost in 2007.[13] The majority of the content on Joost was restricted to users in the United States of America, due to lack of international licensing arrangements.

The company's first CEO, Frederick de Wahl,[14] was succeeded by Mike Volpi in June 2007.[15] Volpi stepped down in July 2009 amidst a round of job cuts, being succeeded by Matt Zelesko.[16][17] Volpi blamed the content companies for sidelining Joost.[18]

On 17 December 2008, Joost emailed its customers explaining that the project was moving to a website-only model, and that the Joost application would stop working Friday, December 19.[19]

Joost's UK subsidiary was liquidated in 2009.[20] On 24 November 2009, Adconion Media Group announced that they would be purchasing the company's assets for an undisclosed amount.[21][22] Both companies have Index Ventures as a major investor.[23]

On 30 April 2012 the website announced, without further explanation: "We are re-evaluating the purpose and services. For the near-term, we have decided to suspend the site to allow for a full re-evaluation."[24] In May 2012, Adconion rebranded and folded Joost Media into smartclip, another company they had previously acquired.[25] Zennstrom has written a post-mortem analysis of the company, in the 2016 book When Founders Fail.[24]

See also


  1. ^ Kidman, Angus (25 July 2007). "1 million Joost users prepare for year-end launch". APC Magazine. ninemsn Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 25 August 2007.
  2. ^ Orlowski, Andrew (17 January 2007). Joost – the new, new TV thing. The Register
  3. ^ "Joost Gets Live With Free March Madness — Tech News and Analysis". 11 March 2008. Archived from the original on 20 August 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Joost CEO: We've Figured It Out This Time". Business Insider. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  5. ^ Sandoval, Greg (16 January 2007). "Skype founders name new video start-up Joost". CNET. CBS Interactive.
  6. ^ Clark, David. "David Clark, EVP and GM Joost". PLM. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  7. ^ "Joost". Joost. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  8. ^ Tew, Chris (20 February 2007). "Viacom: "Good-bye YouTube, Hello Joost!"".
  9. ^ "Exclusive: Joost Partners with Diversion Media". 20 March 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  10. ^ Glauser, Stephen. "Joost shows more promise with CBS deal". Too Real. Archived from the original on 29 April 2007. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ [2][dead link]
  13. ^ Shalini Dore (9 October 2007). "Eros links with Joost". Variety. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  14. ^ Mansfield, Barry (1 November 2007). "Joosting for Power" (PDF). CNBC European Business. London, Ink Publishing.
  15. ^ Sweney, Mark (5 June 2007). "Cisco veteran Mike Volpi joins Joost". the Guardian. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  16. ^ "Web video site Joost cuts service, jobs, CEO goes -". Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  17. ^ Chris Albrecht. "Former Joost CEO Gets New Gig as VC". Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  18. ^ Interview: Mike Volpi: Broadcasters’ Own VOD Plans Killed Joost — paidContent Archived 2013-12-12 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Reisinger, Don (17 December 2008). "Joost kills software application". CNET. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
  20. ^ Mercedes Bunz (14 October 2009). "More dramatic developments after the liquidation of Joost UK". the Guardian. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  21. ^ Summers, Kerry Vance (24 November 2009). "Adconion Media Group acquires Joost assets". Adconion Media Group. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
  22. ^ "Joost Sells Off Scraps". Light Reading. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  23. ^ Joost Is Now Officially Dead – Assets Acquired By Adconion Media Group techcrunch
  24. ^ a b Pedro Gairifo Santos. "When Founders Fail". Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  25. ^ Ingrid Lunden (9 May 2012). "Final Nail In The Joost Coffin: Adconion Rebrands, Folds Video Service Into Smartclip". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved 10 August 2015.