AOL has gone live with AOL On, a platform of 14 channels offering premium programmed video content, as it described at an advertiser-friendly event called AOL’s 2012 Digital Content NewFront.
The company said more than 450 brand advertisers, marketers, agencies and digital and TV media buyers came to see what opportunities the new hub offered. To interest them further, AOL reiterated that it currently reaches an audience of 57 million consumers, and that AOL On was accessible on the consumer’s choice of desktop, tablet, mobile devices and connected TV devices.
It’s difficult to believe from today’s perspective, but AOL was a pioneer of online television a decade ago, when broadband was for early adopters. It achieved milestones like streaming the premiere of The WB’s 2004 television series Jack and Bobby to a previously unheard-of 700,000 viewers, and incorporated contextually relevant supplemental content and advertising with the listings.
In its modern iteration, a much more sophisticated AOL On is offering viewers an ever-growing library of curated shows and playlists drawn from AOL originals, partner content and elsewhere. The AOL On Network brings together what formerly were AOL Video, goviral, StudioNow and AOL HD. Combined, those account for 861 million video streams per month, with users spending a total of 2.4 billion minutes consuming video, according to comScore March 2012 (total U.S. video viewers).
At launch, AOL On has signed up Adrian Grenier, Nina Garcia (pictured), Rachel Roy, Heidi Klum, Erin Fetherston, Marc Forgione, Sam Talbot and Christine Vachon to curate AOL On playlists “and share their passions and unique perspectives with audiences,” as AOL describes it.
“AOL On goes beyond the traditional online video experience and delivers premium, curated video in the right context at the right time – be it on your desktop, tablet, smart phone or connected TV devices,” said Ran Harnevo, senior vice president, Video, AOL On. “Consumers need a destination to discover videos on the topics that matter when they want them.”
AOL also announced seven new original programs, which it described thusly:
- Digital Justice – Live today on AOL On Tech and HuffPost Crime, Digital Justice is a weekly reality show that follows digital forensic investigators as they solve cyber crimes. The series deep dives into fascinating crime prevention units that are using the latest digital technology.
- Fetching – Written by Sex and the City‘s Amy Harris, Fetching is set against the backdrop of New York City and stars Liza – a young woman who quit her job as a lawyer and ended her engagement in the same week – in hopes of pursuing her dreams of opening her own business, a doggy daycare store called “Fetching.”
- Little Women Big Cars – Debuting on May 7, the web series is centered around four soccer moms struggling to balance their busy schedules, family lives and sanity.
- Next Door Hero – A new, unscripted series that features everyday Americans with extraordinary stories. This new series will put an action-filled spotlight on America’s bravest everyday heroes.
- Nina Garcia – Whether you’re embarking on a new relationship, just starting a new career or have a new baby, two things just happened: you found a new life and you lost your groove. The swag, thrill and the mojo of your look is totally gone and there’s only one woman that can help you get it back: Nina Garcia.
- Tiger Beat Entertainment – A deeper, more thoughtful lifestyle and entertainment show for and by teens and young adults covering a wide variety of pop culture and lifestyle categories with a genuine point of view.
- ur + 1 – Similar to popular sports-related fantasy games, the ur + 1 gaming platform will allow users to pick teams of celebrities to compete for points based on their coverage on AOL properties. Celebrity-related content across HuffPost Celebrity, HuffPost Entertainment, Moviefone, AOL Music and HuffPost TV will be a part of the gaming experience, encouraging users to read, comment and share the content.
“AOL is a brand company. We offer innovative platforms like the AOL On Network, along with vibrant and engaging video content that we know people are flocking to the Web to consume at an unprecedented velocity,” said Tim Armstrong, chairman and CEO, AOL. “With the launch of AOL On we are bringing people closer to the things that matter, while helping them discover and share the stories and information that color their lives.”
AOL On – official site
AOL – press release
Photo of Nina Garcia by Barbara Nitke for “Project Runway,” courtesy of Bravo