Blog Post

MSN’s Soapbox Starts Its 15 Minutes

We’ve already written a bit about MSN Video’s three-pronged strategy — original content, licensed (Arrested Development) and user-generated/uploaded. Tuesday, MSN finally adds that third prong with the launch of the (for now) invite-only live beta of Soapbox on MSN Video. Code-named “Warhol,” the user-gen video site has been in internal testing with thousands of Microsoft employees. I was given an advance look but haven’t been able to test it for myself yet. (The screenshots of the service, upload system etc are here)
Rob Bennett, GM of video and entertainment services for MSN, points out that it’s not like user-generated content is new to Microsoft or MSN; after all, Windows Live Spaces started as MSN Spaces. In fact, Soapbox will be integrated with Spaces, Windows Live Messenger and other online services even though it’s under the MSN umbrella, not Live.
Some key elements:
— Bennett: “We designed this video interface to do everything while you watch video.” Search, sharing, browsing all should be possible while the video is playing.
— He says the screen can resize with rebuffering unlike YouTube.
— Allows uploads of private video.
— Beyond copyright, the only limit for video is 100M.
— Comes with an embedded player for sites and blogs.
— Soapbox will be cross-platform from the start and should work in the most recent versions of IE and Firefox for Macintosh OS X and Windows XP.
— Major video file formats are supported; DivX to be added.
— Bennett calls it the first site on MSN to really take advantage of tagging.
— Users can set up personalized RSS feeds.
Details Start To Seep Out About MSN’s User-Gen Video Beta; Will Be called “Soapbox”