about business / New Media / Old Media

Joost: The Entrepreneur as a Brand

Joost, an internet video distribution site has gain an amazing amount of attention. Recently it raised more than 45 million dollars and has a valuation close to 200 million.  Joost is in a closed beta (I have been using it for a while).  The company owns no content, wires or towers. I doubt (but do not know) that it really has any technical advantages.  So then why are companies like Viacom and CBS signing on? It is the power of the Entrepreneurs brand.  Niklas Zennstrøm and Janus Friis are the founders of Skype and before that Kaaza. We have always had strong CEO/Founder brands like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Andy Grove but they stayed with the companies they started.  These guys build and sell companies.  And while there are so many video distributions sites, they will not make it with out great content and consumer awareness.  These are the guys that have the “juice” And in any case, see if you can get a beta.  Joost is certainly an example of a 21st media company and while companies like this may or may not succeed in getting a return for their investors (this one will if history is any indication), they will further break the back of traditional TV networks.  Heavy, on whose board I serve is on Joost and their programs look great. 

By the way, last week, Roger King, was honored by The International Radio and Television Society Foundation.   Roger is the CEO of King World Productions and CBS Enterprises.  King World is the leading distributor of syndicated television and distributes such shows as Oprah. King world started by distributing The Little Rascals.   I was on the board of that company when we sold it to CBS in 1999 for 2.5 billion dollars.   

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