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updated 5/1/2007 6:23:30 PM ET 2007-05-01T22:23:30

Joost, the Internet TV platform being developed by the influential creators of Skype and Kazaa, said Tuesday it had signed several new content distribution agreements, including one to show CNN programs.

The company also planned to expand availability by the end of the month, letting "beta" testers invite anyone else to download the software from its Web site and view programs on Joost as well.

"This is the way you normally ramp up peer-to-peer software ... and it's a way to give our (beta tester) friends a little bit of a scoop," said Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, the company's top executive for content acquisition.

Joost — pronounced "juiced" — was co-founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, the entrepreneurs who upset the music industry with the Kazaa file-sharing service and then developed Skype, the Internet telephone system that was bought by eBay Inc. for at least $2.6 billion in 2005.

Joost operates by distributing streaming video of shows "peer-to-peer," or user-to-user, over the Internet. Consumers choose a channel via a software interface on their desktop that resembles a remote control. Like regular TV, it is free for viewers, and aims to be ad-supported.

In Tuesday's deal with Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Broadcasting System, Joost said it would air episodes of "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" and "Robot Chicken" from Turner's Adult Swim network along with "Larry King Live" and other CNN news and interview programs.

Joost also announced several other content deals Tuesday:

  • Sony Corp. will run episodes of several old TV series including "Charlie's Angels" and "Starsky & Hutch" on Joost;
  • Time Warner's Sports Illustrated will run photo shoots and programs about its swimsuit issue;
  • The National Hockey League will broadcast vintage games and game highlights;
  • Hasbro Inc. will run old episodes of "Transformers" and "G.I. Joe."

Joost has previously signed deals with Viacom Inc., Warner Music Group Corp. and CBS Corp. It has advertising trials with numerous companies, including Coca-Cola Co., Nike Inc., Microsoft Corp., Procter & Gamble Co., Sony and Visa.

Alberdingk Thijm said Joost was not aiming to be a venue for B-grade programming and reruns, pointing to Adult Swim programs as among the most highly watched on U.S. cable.

She said she could not disclose details of specific deals, but said advertisers would be charged on a per-view basis and revenues would be shared between Joost and the content providers. Ads would be targeted to the content, she said.

Alberdingk Thijm said the company is still experimenting with when and how it will run ads, including short advertisements before or after programs, traditional 30-second ads in the middle of longer programs, and more experimental ideas such as ads that appear on the screen briefly and then fade away while a program is running.

Overall, she said, there would be less advertising than on regular TV.

Joost is seen as one of the many candidates to become a primary distributor of television and video to the Internet, competing against Google Inc.'s YouTube, Revver Inc., broadcasters' own Web sites, an as-yet unnamed cooperation between General Electric Co.'s NBC and News Corp., and file-sharing programs such as BitTorrent, among others.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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