Adobe to Bundle Media Player with Software Updates

Adobe, hoping to make a splash in the already well-entrenched digital media player market, plans to use its dominance in other software categories to thrust its upcoming Adobe Media Player onto an immediate user base.

Adobe has immense penetration for its existing digital media product lines — Flash, for instance, is installed on more than 90 percent of computers worldwide. So this power play makes sense. As consumers get more access to media on their PCs, Adobe sees a hole where it feels it should be a natural fit, but it doesn’t have the product. It’s also up against the usual suspects, Microsoft and Apple, through their ubiquitous Windows Media Player and iTunes, respectively.

We’ve confirmed that Adobe Media Player, which is almost certainly coming out in April, will be included as an update to existing Adobe software Adobe Reader, Acrobat, Flash and Shockwave. In some cases, users will have to opt in to adding the AMP download, and in others they will have to opt out, according to Ashley Still, AMP product manager.

“You can think of this more as an additional offer rather than silently installing an application as an update goes through,” Still told NewTeeVee on Friday. Will Adobe be taking advantage of its existing beachheads on desktops to create instant adoption for its new product? “We will take full advantage of it, balanced with respecting our users and doing it a way where it’s clear the additional value that they’re getting,” said Still.

AMP, which is based around the subscription experience, is perhaps most similar to the indie media client Miro. Users who subscribe to content feeds will see it automatically download to their desktop, ready for offline viewing.

In addition to making use of its direct relationships with most every desktop in the world, Adobe will also be using media partners to aid its distribution. Partners, which include CBS and PBS, will be encouraged to post badges on their web sites that prompt users to download versions of the player with the partner’s content queued up front and center. Adobe will also be mounting AMP advertising campaigns.

We asked Still about AMP’s support for live video, peer-to-peer, and digital rights management. She said AMP will support live video feeds via RSS (the same way RSS Live TV does). “To be quite honest, we need to make some improvements to the user experience,” Still added. “There’s no way right now to be notified when an event starts, and if I can’t start watching immediately on time, there’s no DVR-type recording.” She did not give a date for inclusion of these features.

What about P2P? “We don’t currently have peer-to-peer support within the player, but that’s something that we’re actively looking at incorporating and talking to partners and P2P startups about.”

And DRM? “There are lots of different ways that Adobe is enabling content owners to protect their content in a more robust way, and the media player supports all of that.”

AMP comes at a time when desktop media experiences are, for some users, becoming less and less relevant — streaming via YouTube and Hulu already offers access to most of the content available online. But that’s an elite perspective; lack of reliable broadband will continue to be a problem for many people, sustaining a need for products that can work offline, such as AMP, iTunes and Windows Media Player.

If you can’t wait, download the pre-release version of the Adobe Media Player here. Also, the reason I say the product is “almost certainly” launching in April is because Adobe, after multiple delays, won’t give an official date, but says AMP will launch sometime between now and the end of April, and is looking to schedule a briefing on March 31. So, process of elimination…

See also our initial coverage of AMP from last April.


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