Microsoft has now launched its online video service out of Beta.
Aside from the fact MSN Video will distribute content for NBC Universal and News Corp, and this video content will include full-length programming, movies and clips from at least a dozen television networks and two major film studios.
Forget the fact that they have years of experience in encoding and distributing video across the Internet, or their robust and scalable content delivery network.
The real buzz is the other side of the new MSN Video portal.
It’s Microsoft’s "User Generated Content" section called SoapBox on MSN.
There are over 100 websites that offer the ability to upload your videos for the world to view, most notably YouTube and Google Video.
So why would Microsoft’s SoapBox be important?
Three words: "Mass Market Reach".
For the last 24 months Microsoft has really been investing in a collection of integrated services and products called Windows Live.
The most familiar is Windows Live Messenger, the replacement for the market leading MSN Messenger.
So wouldn’t it be a nice idea if Microsoft would let you create a list of videos on MSN Soapbox and then actually watch them with your friends and family in Windows Live Messenger.
Well you can… here is an image of how it looks:
Now realize that Windows Live Messenger is free to download and is available in 26 languages and is used in more than 60 countries by more than 240 million active accounts each month. And you should start to see the attractive nature of this new video portal.
Can anyone say "Viral Video"? But it does not end there.
Microsoft is adding MSN SoapBox functionality directly within other Windows Live software that can be downloaded free of charge.
Windows Live Writer (Blog posting software for the desktop) and Windows Photo Gallery (desktop photo/video management software) now offer SoapBox support for uploading videos to Microsoft’s portal, and in the case of Live Writer actually posting SoapBox videos you find directly to your blog.
Also don’t forget the Microsoft Search engine "Live.Com" which serves up videos direct from its own MSN Video portal!
After purchasing YouTube, Google always seemed to be unrivaled in terms of online video.
But that may be about to change now Microsoft has entered the arena in a big way and with a sound business model included. Whilst you may argue SoapBox is no YouTube, Microsoft does have a huge user base to tap into – and it is!
Let the battle begin.
Note from Ken:
P.S. Did you know I’m on the road this fall?
For the first time in three years, I’ll be
offering small group trainings in Internet
Here’s where I’ll be and when:
Toronto – October 13
Los Angeles – November 3
San Francisco – November 10
Vancouver – November 17