Interview: Adconion CEO Says Joost Will Showcase Branded Entertainment

Joost isn’t dead, it’s just getting more advertising.

Adconion‘s main aim in acquiring the video firm is to offer its web player to brand marketing clients, CEO Tyler Moebius told But Adconion’s acquisition also includes the trademark and rights for much of Joost’s TV content…

Though Joost itself had decided to exit the consumer video space to focus on white-labeling, Adconion will continue to operate the consumer site and will go on seeking new video content, he said…

We’ll continue to pursue a strategy of aggregating premium content,” Moebius said, who is retaining a 12-strong Joost engineering team in New York, pledging: “We’ll continue to innovate on the Joost platform.”

But building an audience for strands like Transformers and Martial Arts TV, where Joost before could not, is not the centrepiece of Adconion’s strategy here. Rather, Joost’s embeddable player and portal site will both become spaces on which to sell ads and a window through which marketing clients can show their emerging wave of branded content

“Acquiring their technology platform will enable us to combine it with our existing ad-serving solution to provide a white-label solution to publishers and advertisers,” Moebius said. “Now we’ll be able to provide those publishers with a branded video player and iPhone app” (Joost’s app is still available; counterparts Babelgum and Livestation have recently been white-labeling their iPhone apps to other media orgs).

After launching its imprint in a big video foray last year, Adconion already has its own content development and syndication arm, RedLever (formed after acquiring LA digital studio KTV), ready to produce those videos for clients (it’s already produced a Late Night Jukebox series on behalf of McDonald’s, featuring artists from Sony’s Epic record label).

Adconion will offer its customers a customised Joost player for their own site, distribution for their branded content through those players and on the portal, and overlay ads on’s existing content (preroll, midroll, postroll, overlay)…

So, survives, but may be more marketing-heavy than before. Moebius presumably isn’t as intrigued by the opportunity to make Joost succeed as a VOD portal in its original form as he is by its potential as an advertising canvas – ex Joost CEO Mike Volpi already conceded to paidContent:UK in June that Joost had been rendered unattractive by the Hulus and iPlayers of this world. That prompted the switch toward technology white-labeling – Adconion will get white-label clients Joost had since scooped up, Moebius said, but Joost’s previous managers had let advertisers go when they made the shift, he added.

“When we first looked at the video landscape two years ago, the biggest challenge was giving advertisers premium content and scale,” Moebius said. “We decided to pursue a strategy of pushing content out. We continue to stay focused on content syndication and distribution but, by operating, it will complement these efforts and provide a complete video ecosystem for our advertisers, publishers and content owners, giving them the availability to showcase premium content on or to license the Joost platform.”

Moebius refused to reveal the price for Joost, nor what happens to assets he is not buying, but credited the Flash web player that Joost invested so heavily on developing to replace its desktop app: “We were extremely impressed with the technology platform that they had built over the years, along with the engineering team responsible for building a state-of-the-art global video platform.”

Despite being headquartered in London, Adconion’s CEO says he will remain in Santa Monica, LA, where it has 65 staff, unless demands dictate otherwise. Last week’s departure of his UK managing director is “completely unrelated” and all the Joost assets will sit under, operated by Moebius’ CTO, while Joost as a brand will be one of Adconion’s “portfolio products”.

After acquiring KTV, Frontline and, are more buys on the cards for the company in which $80 million was invested last year? “We’ll always continue to evaluate opportunities that meet our business objective as a leader in online video,” Moebius said.

On the subject of acquisitions, it won’t escape your attention that, like Joost, Adconion’s main financing is from Index Ventures. No word on whether this sale was coordinated by Index.