Marketing is a mushy science, but it comes in handy
I found myself on Adobe’s Web site the other day because my Firefox browser stopped playing audio and turns out, I needed a Flash update. While I was there, I happened upon something telling me to download Adobe Media Player. Since I weirdly love to download software even if I have no need for it and will never use it again, I downloaded it.
Imagine my surprise to discover what I’m sure I should have already known: Adobe Media Player offers tons of content on your desktop, including full episodes of CBS’ NCIS, Showtime’s Brotherhood and Californication, old original Star Trek episodes (which , if you watch, you will remember how gorgeous William Shatner was back in the day) and stuff I have yet to see elsewhere like Epicurious.com TV, MyRecipeTV.com, and the Spark Art video podcast from KQED, San Francisco’s excellent public radio station.
I did a quick Google search and learned that indeed, Adobe announced Media Player 1.0 way back in April, with content from partners such as CBS, MTV Networks, Universal Music Group, PBS, CondeNet, and Scripps Networks. It’s also created what has to be a very dramatic network called Adobe TV, which includes shows — instructional and otherwise — about Adobe products. I don’t think that network is going to be tearing me away from The Office or 30 Rock anytime soon.
They also have Hubblecast, a video podcast from the Hubble deep-space telescope , and that one is pegged a staff favorite. I can tell you that while that may sound boring to you, a lot of people LOVE that sort of content. So, that’s some cool stuff, but it’s really just a start. Adobe’s video service is pretty limited so far.
From layout and usability perspectives, Adobe Media Player looks great. It’s an incredibly clean and simple-to-use interface. On the other hand, the buffering process was incredibly slow and then incredibly jerky, plus the application kept crashing, but that’s likely wholly the fault of my Vista-run laptop with an iffy graphics card so I probably can’t blame Adobe for that one.
I think the problem Adobe Media Player has is the one that’s made clear by my discovery process: not too many people know that this exists. (Or maybe lots of people know and I’m just clueless. That option is entirely possible). If Adobe is serious about getting into this online video store area – where players like iTunes, Hulu and Amazon Unbox dominate — they need to develop some marketing and quick.