We’ve known for a while now that AOL has aspirations of transforming its media empire into a fully fledged TV network built for the web. It announced a new live streaming video channel for the HuffingtonPost web publication back in February, but now it’s web video channel plans appear to be much more expansive.
Yesterday the company launched a new video site called AOL On Network, which will bring all of the company’s video offerings (HuffingtonPost, TechCrunch, Engadget, AOL.com, and others) under one umbrella. The video content will play across 14 content channels, including food, business, entertainment, style, tech, travel, and health. The AOL On Network will reach an audience of 57 million US consumers on a variety of internet-connected devices, according to a comScore report of video viewing behavior for March 2012.
The site itself is based on technology from AOL’s $65 million purchase of video syndication startup 5min. Through AOL On’s video hub, users will be able to surface the most relevant videos in real time from a library of over 320,000 high-quality, short-form videos created by over 1,000 third-party publishers as well as AOL.
I know what most people are probably thinking — that there’s no way AOL is going to produce enough compelling content to rival the efforts of Hulu, YouTube, Revision3, and others. But the company has announced six entirely original programs produced by some high-profile names in the entertainment world (full list of shows pasted below). It’s also signing up celebrities like Heidi Klum and Adrian Grenier to curate video content throughout the day for people to watch. Compelled to tune in yet?
The new site promises not to be a YouTube clone, with curious singing kitties doing humorous things or brutal gang brawls that end in epic lightsaber battles. Those two examples may seem extremely entertaining (because they are), but it’s not the kind of thing AOL is striving for.
What AOL wants is ongoing ad revenue of Star-Wars-opening-box-office-weekend proportions. Online video ad spending is expected to reach $7 billion by 2015, according to an eMarketer report released in February. AOL wants a large chunk of that video ad growth, and as one of the top 10 most popular destinations for video content on the web, the company has a decent chance of achieving those goals.
But, the biggest factor in that success is in delivering video content that people actually want to see — meaning people don’t mind sitting through a few commercials or pre-roll ads during a video.
Below is a description of the six original programs that will appear on the AOL On Network. Let us know what you think in the comments section.
Via the AOL On press release:
- 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– Anew, 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 who 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.