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Joost Fires Up Viacom Shows

Internet-television startup Joost began offering full-length TV shows from Viacom brands including MTV and Comedy Central to beta users of the service.

The selection of programs -- clearly aimed at an under-30 audience -- includes MTV’s Laguna Beach andTwo-a-Days; Comedy’s Stella, Dog Bites Man and Freak Show; BET’s American Gangster andBeef: The Series; and classic episodes of Nickelodeon’sTheRen & Stimpy Show.

Most of the video clips are 22-minute shows.

Viacom announced a content-licensing deal with Joost in February a few weeks before the media company filed a $1 billion copyright-infringement lawsuit against Google’s YouTube video-sharing site.

Viacom spokesman Jeremy Zweig said Joost began offering the clips March 30. The programs currently available through Joost, he added, don’t include everything covered under Viacom’s deal. “It’s certainly not everything in the vault, but what is up represents a portion of what’s in the license,” he said. “They’re still in beta.”

Joost said it expects to officially launch by the end of June. Advertisers on the beta version of the service include gum-maker Wrigley and T-Mobile USA.

The on-demand service currently features an eclectic mix of more than 70 channels, which include those from Viacom, National Geographic, Lime and Warner Bros. Records. Offbeat programming includes the Braindead channel (featuring a show called World of Stupid) and Guinness World Records TV.

Founded by the two entrepreneurs behind Internet-phone venture Skype -- Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom -- Joost is incorporated as Baaima with headquarters on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.