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MSN Launches Video Service

Microsoft has launched a free streaming video service called MSN Video to its MSN Internet subscribers, in hopes to compete with others…the service will offer video clips from NBC, including NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Nightly News, Dateline, Meet the Press and CNBC. Microsoft said it plans on adding other content partners outside of the NBC family of stations, but it would not elaborate on those plans.

MSN Video would be fully supported by 15-second advertisements embedded in the streams.

[Lisa Gurry, group product manager for MSN] declined to say what sort of financial incentives Microsoft plans to offer content providers. She did note that current standalone video-streaming services have not performed up to expectation.

John Battelle in B2.0 (sub. req.): “Microsoft already has early evidence that it’s on to something big. Its has sold out its inventory of 15-second advertising spots, which run adjacent to many of the news clips it streams each month…And because it can tie in to Microsoft’s Passport registration technology, will someday link that ad inventory to specific demographics or audience preferences.”

MediaNewsDaily: MND has being having a lovefest with Starcom MediaVest Group for the last week or so, so in that spirit, another story: “While MSN had been readying a broadband video service, it was at the instigation of Starcom MediaVest Group that it accelerated the process and fine-tuned aspects of the service in the process…Among Starcom’s specific suggestions to MSN was that ads run either before or during video content, rather than after. Also, the company proposed that the additional marketing component beyond the streaming ads not interfere with users’ online experiences.”