Microsoft’s MSN To Shut Down YouTube-Rival Soapbox

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), which said last month it was rethinking the strategy around its user-generated video uploading service Soapbox, has decided to shut it down. Microsoft CVP Erik Jorgensen tells us that the company will instead add functionality to its MSN Video site to “enable bloggers and citizen journalists to upload content to share with our MSN users.”

Soapbox, which Microsoft launched three years ago after making a strategic decision not to purchase a video uploading site, never really caught on. Jorgensen says the service generated less than 5 percent of overall streams on its MSN Video site, where the videos were hosted. Advertisers have also shown a strong preference for placing their ads around professionally created video content, rather than near user-created clips.

Jorgensen emphasized, however, that MSN remains committed to video, pointing out that MSN Video had its top ever month in the U.S. last year. The company is planning a major overhaul of its MSN portal for later this fall that will focus the site’s content offerings in fewer areas, including news, entertainment, sports, finance, and lifestyle.