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Jetcast, a startup whose tools help Internet radio and television broadcasters make money, today announced the launch of a new media player, UniversalPlayer. The new media player gives broadcasters and advertisers something that previously only giants like Google and Apple might have: a built-in app store.

Jetcast hosts two products, ReplaceAds and UniversalPlayer, that help broadcasters and advertisers to both save money and increase returns on advertising. ReplaceAds is a network made up of thousands of audio, video, and display ads for Internet radio. According to the company’s website, some advertisers include popular brands like Sears, Cadbury and and CapitalOne Bank.

UniversalPlayer pushes high-quality streams to set-top-boxes, TV’s, and PCs, and soon, according to the company’s website, mobile and auto. The player can use streams from many of the well-known providers, including Shoutcast and Icecast, and handles the MP3 and WMA formats. There’s also the possibility to integrate with social networks and manage them from a single tool.

The real innovative aspect to the new UniversalPlayer is the built-in app store.  The company has opened its API to developers so that they can create and sell apps from within the player. These apps — for computer desktops, not mobile device like the more familiar iPhone App Store and Android Market — can be used by users as they listen to broadcasts. The company claims that both the station and developer earn money as users interact with the apps through such means as virtual currency, subscription services, premium local advertising, search and more. When asked what type of apps users could expect, the company gave examples including weather, job boards, games and rock trivia.

It’s not clear how much money there is to be made, however. Jetcast claims the new media player is set up to take advantage of consumers who will spend over $6 billion in application stores in 2010, according to a recent study from analyst firm Gartner. Yet that study covers mobile app stores — and UniversalPlayer doesn’t even address that market yet.


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