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Joost: New hires, lots of video, still no Web-based version

Hype has long since died down for the well-funded video start-up, but Joost wants you to know that it's still alive and kicking.

Some critics declared video service Joost kaput when big-network rival Hulu debuted last spring, far exceeding expectations.

But Joost, founded by the team behind Skype and Kazaa, wants you to know it's still going strong. The company announced Monday that it now has more than 7,000 hours of video programming available and that it has hired former Dailymotion employees Danny Passman and John Schultz. They have joined the video start-up as global head of programming strategy and director of programming strategy, respectively. Both are also MTV Networks veterans.

The company has also made a number of other executive hires in recent weeks, from chief architect to chief financial officer.

One of the hurdles that Joost has faced is that you must download its client in order to stream its content; you can't stream directly from the Web. Joost representatives have said that a Web-based version of its software will be available sometime in 2008 and that it will start featuring more live programming. The service briefly reappeared on the tech chatter radar when it streamed every March Madness college basketball game live.

A British newspaper reported last month that Joost was slimming down some of its lofty global plans to focus more on the U.S. market.

Regardless, Joost says it's going strong, with 400 TV shows and 1,200 movies and short films in its line-up. That's a lot more than Hulu, which has 250 TV shows and 100 full-length movies, as well as clips from an additional 150 TV shows and 50 movies. But with the backing of NBC Universal and News Corp., Hulu has a leg up in the quality department: while Joost has deals with big conglomerates like Viacom, many of them haven't made their top-notch shows available to the video service.