MSN Soapbox: Messenger and Mobile integration coming soon

NewTeeVee, a new site for GigaOM run by Om Malik, posts a review of MSN Soapbox that offers some insights into where the beta service is heading.

First, according to the piece, Soapbox is slated to come out of beta in March.  NewTeeVee talked to Rob Bennett, general manager of entertainment and video services for MSN, who said that Soapbox currently has several hundred thousand beta testers.

“The most interesting integrations are with instant messaging and Windows Mobile, and both should be released within the next month, says Bennett. Users will be able to watch videos from within Microsoft’s IM clients for a social viewing experience. (The Soapbox player will fly out to the right of an existing conversation window.)

On the mobile, Soapbox is about to release an application for browsing videos on Windows Mobile phones, and a mobile uploader should follow. This will allow for full access to the Soapbox site, unlike comparable recent Verizon deals. Bennett said carrier relationships will also eventually be part of the plan, but the first priority is getting something working on phones.”

Integration with Windows Live Messenger and the new Windows Live mobile offerings will make Soapbox a more interesting alternative to YouTube (and make the non Windows Live branding even more confusing).  Bennett went on to hint some more at incentives for posting, and using, Soapbox: 

“Bennett didn’t rule out offering incentives for video creators, but he said nothing had been determined yet. His suggestion would be to reward users with Microsoft Points (the ones used for Xbox and Zune). That could possibly extend to users who tag and watch videos as well as create them.”

Integration across Windows Live, incentives, MSN content, coupled with abilities to limit video distribution to say Messenger contacts only, and Soapbox begins to look a little different than just another YouTube wannabe.