Despite the site still being available online, Adconion Media Group the largest independent global audience and content network, announced today that it has acquired certain assets from privately-held Joost, the online video service. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Janus Friis, co-founder of Joost (and Kazaa), said, “Over the past few months we have been actively exploring strategic options for Joost, and have concluded that the sale of certain of its assets to Adconion is in the best interests of Joost. Adconion has a strong technological platform and a compelling business model, and we believe that both businesses will benefit as a result of this acquisition.”
Through the Joost acquisition, Adconion.TV will add to its library of professionally-produced video content available for targeted pre-roll advertisements across 2,000 premium publishers.
Joost began development in 2006 as an Internet TV service created by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis (founders of Skype and Kazaa). The product was developed by some 150 software developers in about six cities around the world and launched in 2007.
Friis and Zennström used part of a $2.6 billion cash payment when eBay acquired Skype in 2005, to develop and market cost Joost. Just a week after launching the service, the founders announced that they had raised an additional $45 million. Sequoia Capital, an early investor in Skype; Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong tycoon; and CBS who all took minority stakes in the start-up.
Upon launch Joost begun as a desktop based application but after failing to compete with the likes of YouTube who merely needed users to visit a URL, on December 17, 2008, Joost sent an email to its customers explaining that the project was moving to a website-only model, and that the Joost application would stop working Friday, December 19.
Last June, Joost announced plans to refocus and provide white-label video platforms, something Adconion has ambitions to continue. This puts the company in head to head competition with the likes of Brightcove and Ooyala.
Joost’s co-founders are hardly likely to dwell on the loss for too long, with a new stake in the recently sold Skype and a juicy new music startup called Rdio in the making, we should have plenty to share with you over the coming weeks and months.
If there’s any lesson to be learnt here, its no matter how much hype, celebrity and publicity your company receives. The potential for failure is as as great, if not greater, than for a startup with solid backing and product but little else. Publicity can make or break your company, but at the end of the day, it comes down to what your product offers and where Joost failed, at least in my book, is in its lack of quality content readily available no matter where you were – irrespective of how hard that goal is to achieve.