@ Mipcom: Broadband Content Bits: Joost To Do Live TV; Other Distributors Scale Up

Joost plans to begin testing add test live TV shows alongside its on-demand content in the first quarter of 2008. In an interview with paidContent:UK, content strategy and acquisition EVP Yvette Alberdingkthijm said the programming has been arranged for testing, though she declined to identify the source. Alberdingkthijm said she can get sports deals in Europe like the baseball catch-up arrangement inked with the MLB: “There’s some stuff up our sleeve actually … and obviously we’re talking to everybody who has sports rights.” She acknowledged live sports licenses command big fees, with English soccer snapped up by the likes of BSkyB (NYSE: BSY), but then said: “I don’t have to play in that league. I do know that, within my own universe of free online viewing, I can do live really, really well, and I’ll be starting with that in the US in Q1 next year.” That timescale being for testing, prior to fuller roll-out.

She said the live programming will include a “combination” catch-up option to watch on-demand shows following live transmission, then said Joost will offer widgets allowing viewers to bookmark favourite sporting moments and keep scores – some co-written with content partners, others by the community. Sport, hypothetically speaking, is one attractive avenue for live internet TV (not everyone has a TV in the office), but, of course, requires distributors pick up live internet rights. Alberdingkthijm noted the UK ITN carriage deal, announced yesterday, includes ITN’s Premiership soccer highlights.

Meanwhile, three Joost rivals are scaling up their services in what looks like an attempt to curry greater credibility with the independent production sector…

Babelgum: The Ireland-based, Italian-backed niche TV aggregator is opening up its platform to allow content makers to upload their own videos as well as set terms of advertising revenue sharing. It’s up-front about this targeting “the many independent small-medium sized professional producers” (See blog post).

Vuze: In what it called a “new business model”, Azureus’ video site is opening up its publishing platform so that content producers can upload their own content, either making it available for free, with ad support or at a download-to-own price of their choosing. Vuze said it had passed 10 million downloads, adding two million users in September. (See release).

Brightcove: The online video player maker said it can now offer producers “broadcast-quality” publishing after upgrading its software to work with H.264, the hi-def codec Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) recently added to the Flash player. To cope with the bigger downloads for the full-screen programming, the offering, dubbed Brightcove Show, will use Delivery Network Accelerator (DNA), the enhancement announced by BitTorrent today. In this case, DNA will carry Brightcove streams via Limelight‘s content delivery network. (See release).