AMP is basically a desktop Flash video manager that organizes streaming and downloadable video content. Users can find and watch content in AMP, as well as subscribe to shows and have updates pushed directly out to them via the player. Adobe is launching its media player with an impressive list of content partners, including CBS, MTV Networks (Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, etc.), Universal Music Group, PBS, CondéNet (WIRED, Epicurious, etc.), and Scripps Networks (Food Network, Fine Living, etc.).
"It's a merger of TV Guide and DVR for Internet video content," said John Loiacono, senior vice president of Creative Solutions at Adobe, in a press release.
Because Flash has native support for high res video, AMP can display videos in 1080p, 720p or 480i. Indeed, the video in the Adobe Media Player looked very nice, even when streaming. Adobe doesn't host any content, but merely facilitates the delivery from CDN to user. AMP pulls content from partners via RSS feeds -- and users can add any video RSS feed into the player.
Right now, AMP will only display content by default of partners who have a relationship with Adobe. Interested content creators can email Adobe to get their content into AMP. Anyone, however, can seed content externally via an RSS feed. Adobe pulls channel branding directly from RSS feeds as well, so even content providers who have no relationship with Adobe can create branded channels in AMP -- the downside is those channels will only be available to users who add them via an external RSS link, and not in the application's global catalog.
According to Adobe Media Player Product Manager Ashley Still, at some point in the next year or so, Adobe plans to go the user generated content route and make it easier for people to add content directly into AMP's catalog. For now, though, that requires a relationship with Adobe's biz dev team.
Only content providers who have a relationship with Adobe will also be able to utilize Adobe's adserving technology to sell ads on a rev share basis on their videos in the media player. AMP supports pre, post, and mid roll ads, as well as overlay ads and the ability to serve advertising to downloaded videos offline. Offline ads on older downloaded content can be dynamically updated anytime the user connects to the web.
Adobe is also announcing the launch of Adobe TV. Adobe TV is a web site and AMP channel dedicated to aggregating Adobe's array of video blogs and tutorials. These videos had previously been scattered all across the Adobe web universe, on numerous blogs and web sites. Adobe TV brings them under a single umbrella and makes it easier for Adobe fans and users to find those videos or subscribe to them in the new media player software.
Adobe sees the release of AMP as a piece of their "ecosystem for the creation and delivery of next-generation broadcast entertainment." We see it as a showcase for Flash video -- which is getting competition from Microsoft's Silverlight -- and AIR. There is no better way to show off your developers tools than to demonstrate something cool that was made with them.
It is also another piece in Adobe's growing online empire. In October, Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen said that within the next ten years Adobe applications would all be completely in the cloud. That's an ambitious goal, but Adobe recognizes that web apps are the future. The full power of Illustrator or Premiere operating in the cloud might be more then 10 years away, but by using their web application stack (Flash, Flex, AIR, etc.) to push out less complex consumer apps, Adobe is betting that it can get the mainstream used to the idea of web applications and get developers hooked on Adobe tools in the process. That's a smart play.