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Joost Bows Out of TV Streaming Business

1 Jul, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Online TV service Joost has scaled back efforts to emulate repurposed content streaming sites such as Hulu and TV.com, and instead plans to offer online video platforms for third-party media companies, including cable and satellite providers, broadcasters and video aggregators.

The move comes as hype surrounding ad-supported movies and TV programming streamed for free over the Internet meets the harsh reality of limited revenue returns underscored by a weak advertising market and the recession.

The 3-year-old London-based service said it is eliminating upwards of 100 employees, including the stepping down of CEO Mike Volpi (who remains chairman of the board) and the shuttering of a development center in Leiden, Holland.

"In these tough economic times, it's been increasingly challenging to operate as an independent, ad-supported online video platform," Volpi said in a statement.

Matt Zelesko, currently SVP of engineering, takes over as CEO while continuing to lead the engineering organization. Stacey Seltzer, currently SVP of international business development and content acquisition, will run the business operations.

Joost, which was started by the founders of the Web-based Skype phone service and KaZaA music service, will continue with scaled back operations in New York and London.

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