Web IM client Meebo has launched a group chat feature that includes video from a variety of sources including NBC and MTV. While officially endorsed and deployed web video isn’t new (though expanding rapidly), the idea of building community chat rooms around the content in this way is novel.
Preexisting “Meebo Rooms” specific to content can be joined. Folks also have the option of creating their own chat rooms where they can share a variety of media, such as YouTube and Google vids, via the embedded player. Additionally, Meebo will be embedding custom branded chat rooms into some of their content provider web sites.
After TechCrunch broke the news, Meebo’s marketing dude set up a group chat… He was a good sport in responding to my public quizzing, and here’s some of the info I uncovered: Video is clips only, not full length shows. The format is Flash (FLV), meaning this is cross-browser and cross-platform. Ads will be shown in the media window during “lulls” on Meebo’s site, but will not be present on partner sites.
I have a love-hate relationship with Meebo and similar services. I appreciate the convenience of a light-weight web-based IM client, but I’m not entirely comfortable sharing my IM passwords with a third-party. The new Meebo Rooms are nice in that they’re separate from traditional IM networks and do not require a login.
In related news, MySpace has launched branded video channels.