Yet Another Video Service, Adobe Edition

Adobe Systems (ADBE) throws its hat into the Internet video ring when a service called Adobe Media Player is released to the public later this month. Adobe’s system, which requires a software download, promises, among other things, to be better than the dozen or so other TV-on-the-Web services fighting for video market share.

Adobe’s angle? Free subscriptions to shows, which can be streamed or downloaded, and the ability to watch video disconnected from the Internet–if, and this is a big “if,” the owner of the video permits it. So far, Adobe’s biggest content partners, CBS and Viacom, will only their shows to be streamed.

Because it requires a download, it will no doubt draw comparisons to Joost or Blinkx, but Adobe’s video play is different in several key ways:

  • Adobe’s player handles local video stored on hard drives as well as Web video in Flash or in MPEG-4 format.
  • Adobe’s business model is different: It doesn’t have to foot bandwidth bills, like Hulu does. But it also doesn’t see much revenue: Content companies sell their own ads for the shows, and Adobe gets a (small) cut of that.
  • Unlike Joost or Blinkx, people are accustomed to downloading software from Adobe; Adobe Media Player will be an option for the next Flash upgrade.

NBC U and News Corp.’s joint venture Hulu, which uses Flash, aren’t part of Adobe’s launch. However they, like everyone else, are talking.

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