The new venture, which is described as the first global TV distribution platform, might not sound that different from other internet-based video services. But the fact that co-founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis are the same people who turned the music industry on its head with their Kazaa file-sharing software - and then did the same thing to the telecoms sector with Skype - has helped to fuel intense media interest in the start-up, even though it's still in Beta test face.
It's not just its founders' credentials that set the service apart, of course. Among the key differences between Joost and other online services, like the hugely popular YouTube for instance, is that it promises to offer broadcast-quality content. Unlike Apple's iTunes, meanwhile, Zennström and Friis have opted for a free, ad-funded model, rather than pay-per-view, and users stream the content, via peer-to-peer technology, rather than downloading videos to their PCs.
Perhaps the biggest draw for rights owners, though, is that the service will be available to anyone in the world with a broadband connection, unlike rival VoD offerings from BT and Channel 4, which could potentially open up new markets and audiences for UK producers and distributors. In addition, Joost allows rights owners to 'geo block' programmes in any territory, in case they've already struck an exclusive deal with a broadcaster in that country.
Such a global distribution platform could turn out to be enormously attractive for rights owners, especially for those producers and distributors that might lack the resources to sell their programmes to more far flung territories, or to set up their own branded VoD offerings. And already the service has attracted some key content partners from the UK and the US, including Warner Music, Endemol and September Films.
How many more content providers will join Joost by the time it plans to launch this summer is another matter, and the founders certainly have high expectations to live up to. But with more and more willingness by both producers and broadcasters to experiment with new business models, expect to see plenty more deals being announced over the coming months.