Adobe Launches Media Player

Adobe today launches its Adobe Media Player, a product we’ve been following closely. AMP channels RSS feeds for streaming and download of online video from partners such as MTV and CBS. The Adobe Air-based software has a simple UI that feels a bit like a file organization system.

The player is meant to be customized by content owners, rather than programmed by Adobe. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re CBS or Beet.tv — you can do your own branding on your own content,” AMP product manager Ashley Still told us last week. While only Adobe partners can get into the program index, individual users can also bring in any show they wish if it has an RSS feed and Flash or MPEG-4 videos. Everything is free and/or ad-supported.

The product clearly competes with Apple’s iTunes and Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, though it’s much more narrow at this point. At the same time, it’s much more flexible than the controlled Joost environment. We asked Still about the independent Miro player and she said the difference between it and AMP is “Miro is going to have problems bringing in broadcast content.” As for other potential content deals, Still called out Hulu as “a great Flash partner” and pointed out the site recently added RSS feeds.

Still was friendly to all sorts of feature additions to her product (see our previous interview about distribution methods for AMP), so we asked her to name which changes were highest priority. She said:

– download to own or rent will be coming this year
– the UI will be constantly tweaked
– more content will be added
– white-label distribution will be pushed
– user-generated content will be added “if not this year then pretty soon after”
– also coming are social features like recommendations

At this point I’m doing most of my media consumption through the browser, though I can definitely see the benefit of saving up my favorites for offline consumption. But Still had some pretty good justification: before AMP there was no simple way to play back Flash video locally — you had to be in a browser. That seems reason enough for Adobe to create a desktop client.

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