Microsoft hails video launch

18 August 2009

LONDON: Microsoft's new online TV player has attracted 170,000 views of shows in the UK since its low-key launch on August 3.

Microsoft moved in quickly when UK competition regulators scuppered Kangaroo, the attempt by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 to launch a joint archive video player.

Early figures show that in its first 11 days the shows on MSN Video Player, which include The Mitchell and Webb Look, How to Look Good Naked and the venerable The Young Ones, were viewed 167,487 times with the video website attracting 154,841 users.

The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have all succeeded in attracting large numbers of users for their "catch-up" online TV services. Advertisers have also responded, with doubling its online revenues to £10m ($16m, €11.6m) through its own catch-up streaming service in the first six months of 2009.

But Microsoft Video Player is an archive product along the lines of Hulu in the US. It currently offers content from BBC Worldwide and independent production giant All3Media.

Microsoft UK's managing director of consumer and online, Ashley Highfield, says "there is still a strong feeling that, while catch-up TV works, no-one wants older programmes. Our motivation behind the MSN Video pilot is to see the demand for programmes outside the catch-up TV window."

Data sourced from Media Guardian; additional data from WARC staff