A beta version of MSN Video has been launched, offering a free streaming media service to MSN broadband subscribers. Currently, only NBC and MSNC news programming is available, while other content including sports and entertainment is scheduled for availability this winter. Microsoft is not charging customers for its broadband video services, planning instead to subsidize them with advertising revenues.
Microsoft joins rivals AOL, Yahoo and RealNetworks in offering exclusive on-demand content to its subscribers. AOL aggressively markets AOL for Broadband, promoting exclusive video that can be seen nowhere else through its Time Warner entertainment channels.
RealNetworks sells subscription fees for access to its RealOne offering, while Yahoo mirrors Real’s subscription strategy with its own Platinum service. Both subscriptions run $9.95 per month. RealNetworks is a content partner of CNN.com, a property of AOL parent Time Warner. Despite direct competition between the two companies, Real’s software is also currently bundled with the AOL client.
“The vast amount of broadband content that we will freely offer is unique to the Web and is part of our vision to deliver essential information services to all consumers,” said Yusuf Mehdi, MSN corporate vice president. “We will be able to offer rich broadband content to all consumers because the broadband services MSN will offer advertisers is the next generation of brand advertising on the Web.”
Fifteen-second advertisements will fund Microsoft’s effort to further branch out into broadband with MSN Video.
For more information visit www.microsoft.com.