America Online Inc. is now beta testing a streaming media video service through its AOL Instant Messenger software. Dubbed AIM Video, the service will feature music videos, movie trailers, entertainment news, celebrity interviews and sports highlights.
Other digital content originates from a horizontal expansion of AOLs members-only AOL Television channel that extends AIMs 36 million active users an all-access pass to proprietary comedy, news and other features.
At the moment, AOL has limited content to a total of twelve clips from six different channels including: “Whats New,” “Music,” “Movies & TV,” “News & Money,” “Lifestyles” and “Sports.” Content is provided by AOLs parent company Time Warner Inc., and partners such as film studios, record companies and television networks.
The service is powered by the AOL media platform, which built around the core components of Nullsofts Winamp player. Looking further under the hood, streaming media support is provided by Nullsoft Video technology (NSV) and other multimedia technologies from RealNetworks Inc. and Apple Computer Inc. Video may be enlarged to fill the screen.
AIM Video is exposed throughout the client, and can be found in the AIM Welcome Screen, the Fun Tools rail on the AIM Buddy List, as well as in individual message windows on a rotational basis.
AIM Video is free; like AOL rival Microsofts MSN Video, AIM Video is supported entirely by advertising dollars obtained from the sale of 30 second pre-roll video ads.
A similar service will go live in unison with AIM Video on the AOL.com portal site. AOL has planned to redesign the site to include content feeds alongside Internet search and links to popular AOL.com destinations.