New Fronts: AOL to Create Video Destination for Ad Dollars

The AOL corporate headquarters on Broadway in New York City.
Mario Tama | Getty Images North America | Getty Images
The AOL corporate headquarters on Broadway in New York City.

If the goal of Internet companies' “New Front” presentations is to convince advertisers that it’s easy to buy online video ads, AOL’s presentation aims to show that it’s creating an online complement to TV ads.

In a speech to hundreds of advertisers, CEO Tim Armstrong announced that AOL is launching the “AOL On Network” to bring all of AOL’s videos under one umbrella. It’s 14 content channels that reach nearly 57 million viewers on various brand sites. AOL is clearly chasing the $7 billion in online video spending expected in the U.S. by 2015, according to eMarketer.

AOL’s new video hub will allow web surfers to browse content or see what certain “curators” recommend they watch. Celebrities like Heidi Klum, Adrian Grenier and Rachel Ray will suggest video, by what AOL calls “curating AOL On playlists.”

AOL is also announcing seven new original series, ranging from reality TV show "Digital Justice," to scripted "Fetching" (written by a Sex and the City alum), to "Tiger Beat Entertainment," a lifestyle show for teens.

This news follows AOL’s announcement earlier this month that it’s creating a system for its ads to mirror the TV buying model. For the first time, AOL is using what’s called “gross rating points” — audience viewership rather than clicks or impressions — as advertiser guarantees. In an effort to make it easier for advertisers to approach digital video with the same metrics that they approach TV, AOL is teaming up with Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings to translate online viewing habits into the language of TV ads.

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