In addition to 15 new original shows headlined by stars like Gwynneth Paltrow, Hank Azaria and Nicole Richie, AOL made several announcements yesterday at NewFronts that aim to put the company at the leading edge of the digital video boom — and at the head of the line to snag TV ad budgets.
The questions of if and when those ad budgets will move to digital content in a meaningful way are yet to be answered, but AOL hopes its efforts will get media buyers thinking about digital video as simply a device extension from traditional TV.
AOL unveiled a new partnership with Nielsen to help media buyers compare digital video to TV. The first initiative with Nielsen is an exclusive pilot program that will measure audiences for TV content viewed online. The second will allow AOL to provide audience measurement for the company’s own library of over 620,000 videos and compare those audiences to traditional TV. AOL sums it up this way in their announcement:
Essentially, we’ll be able to use comScore to measure ourselves against other web properties, and Nielsen to compare ourselves against TV.
Making Digital Inventory Accessible, At Scale
In addition to measurement discrepancies, another hindrance digital content companies have faced is that digital ad inventory has not been incorporated into the workflow and systems of TV media buyers. To address this problem, AOL has forged a deal with FreeWheel and Mediaocean to give media buyers access to digital video inventory from their existing buying systems. Using FourFronts, a new solution launched by FreeWheel and Mediaocean, buyers will have access to AOL’s inventory across devices including laptops, tablets, smartphones and gaming consoles.
AOL Chairman and CEO, Tim Armstrong, said in a statement,
… buyers have not had an apples-to-apples comparison when it comes to buying video on the Web and TV. The industry needs to adopt standards between traditional broadcasting and video streams on the Web to create more opportunities in the buying market. FourFronts addresses a pressing need in our industry and will place AOL at the forefront of this shifting tide, getting us one step closer to bridging the gap between premium digital video and TV.
Branded Video Content
The company also revealed the launch of Be On, a branded video content business. With Be On, AOL hopes to capitalize on the native advertising movement. The business is an end-to-end service for brands and agencies that incorporates video production, syndication and measurement services.