In the window next to this one, I’m watching video news reports from AP on a Flash player in Firefox. That shouldn’t be a big deal but it matters for two reasons: it’s a major step towards opening the network across platforms and it is powered by MSN Video. When the AP Online Video Network opened for business last March, the service worked only on Microsoft PCs with IE 6 or higher. At the time, AP’s Sue Cross explained it was the best way “to enable AP members to quickly benefit from the national market for online video ads right as that market is exploding.” A few days later, MSN Video’s Rob Bennett said the company was working on ways to expand the reach both for AP and MSN. I suggested then that Flash or something like it would be needed to prove that MSN was serious not only about its own business but about syndication.
Now roughly six months later the Flash player is being tested on some AP OVN sites including the Houston Chronicle’s Chron.com. A step in the right direction for AP and MSN.
Update: Mark Glaser reports that MSNBC.com will adopt the Flash player in October, which would solve what I’ve long seen as one of the biggest problems with the site. The AP test is in beta on 17 sites. That’s out of 1,400 new partners, not all of whom have actually launched the service. Mark has lots more details.