While Microsoft, Yahoo! and AIM have long placed advertising and promotional messages on the their IM applications, the new Microsoft Live Messenger has an ersatz video player on its web application. The player, which is really banner ad, comes and goes at the bottom of the page, sometimes being swapped out with a conventional banner ad.
The "video player" links to MSN video. Right now, the videos being promoted are from iFilm. I assume they will link to SoapBox once it’s relaunched later this year.
Since Messenger Live is so pervasive and used during business hours, we think this could be a very effective way for MSN to get more attention for its clips and to sell more ads around them.
In a related development, Live Messenger is coming to the XBox. I assume this will involve gaming at first, but video distribution will surely follow — those folks in Redmond have some pretty good platforms to spread video. Stay tuned.
— Andy Plesser