Microsoft is developing an online video-sharing service modeled after YouTube. The Seattle Times reports:
Karnick on Culture.
Hopping aboard one of the Internet's white-hot trends, Microsoft introduced a test version of an online video-sharing service Monday night, with hopes it will snatch users away from market leader YouTube and generate revenue through advertising.
Soapbox on MSN Video, released to a select group of test customers, is designed to allow anyone to upload and share original videos on the Web.
Microsoft hopes Soapbox will both enhance and benefit from its other Web services to gain an edge in the explosive user-generated video market.
"The key is going to be getting a lot of users," said Matt Rosoff, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft. "It's one of those services that becomes more useful as more people access it. The biggest challenge will be to get people to use [Soapbox] instead of YouTube or other services."
Microsoft has an existing audience of 465 million monthly users across its various Web properties and aims to integrate Soapbox with its blogging and instant-messaging services, among others.
To keep its ad-funded business growing, it needs not only to grow its audience but also expand each user's involvement with its services, said Rob Bennett, general manager of entertainment and video services for MSN.