Joost changes tack mid stream

Struggling internet TV company Joost is shutting down its offices in the UK and the Netherlands with CEO Mike Volpi stepping down from the helm to be replaced former Comcast executive Matt Zelesko.

The company announced that as part of its restructure it would be ditching its consumer focus and concentrating on providing a white label video platform.

Joost was launched in 2007 and was briefly the darling of the silicon set due to its executive pedigree hailing from the founding fathers of Skype and Kazaa, co-founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. The company has raised  over EURO 32 million (US$ 45 million) in VC funding to date. Financial backers included the Li Ka Shing Foundation, Sequoia Capital, CBS and Viacom.

At the height of its growth Joost boasted 200 staff worldwide but following cut backs at the end of last year, headcount was reduced to around 100. It is unclear how many staff will remain after this wave of rationalization.

The company has been struggling for some time to commercialize its online video streaming proposition and in April speculation spread that it was up for sale.

"In these tough economic times, it's been increasingly challenging to operate as an independent, ad-supported online video platform," outgoing CEO Mike Volpi said in a statement.

Joost will now make its white label video platform commercially available to media companies allowing them to build a branded experiences for content on their own site and platforms in their distribution networks.

Volpi’s departure comes to no surprise to the industry which has entertained the possibility that he male be considering the top spot UK broadcaster ITV. Volpi will however remain as Joost chairman. His replacement Zelesko is currently senior VP of engineering based in New York where the core team will reside.

 

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