MSN Introduces Ad-Supported Video Service

NEW YORK Microsoft’s MSN yesterday unveiled the beta version of a free, ad-supported broadband video service.

The service, called MSN Video, will deliver personalized, exclusive and on-demand news, sports, music and entertainment programming from sources like NBC News and It will roll out to high-speed Internet users nationwide this winter, though a date has not been specified.

For advertisers, the service will offer 15-second video ads for every five to six minutes of content. In addition, stationary ads related to the video ads will display within the MSN Video on-screen player until the next video ad appears. The fixed ads will provide Web links to an advertiser’s Web site or other information.

MSN said MSN Video would provide marketers with another platform to reach high-income earners and young adults, who tend to be the heaviest users of streaming media. Advertisers, who are participating in the beta program, were not disclosed.

The Redmond, Wash.-based Internet company developed MSN Video by teaming with and Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Group, which helped develop the media-buying components of the service.

“Our objective was to help them craft the idea into a desirable, advertising-supported solution that would ensure consumer acceptance, help shape the next generation of advertising-supported video delivery, as well as get immediate traction in the marketplace,” said Rishad Tobacowala, president of SMG’s Internet practice. “Advertisers can’t afford to be cut off from the growing number of consumers who now spend less time in front of the TV and more time online via broadband.”

MSN Video is one of several broadband offerings that will launch this winter on MSN. Others will include MSN Premium and MSN Plus, the newest versions of MSN’s premier subscription service.