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AOL Networks announces content creation division BeOn as it partners with Roma FC for first release

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By Stephen Lepitak | -

April 30, 2013 | 4 min read

A new end-to-end branded content business which aims to develop content for audiences across all platforms has been unveiled by AOL Networks incorporating video distribution service goviral and the post-production offering delivered by AOL Studios.

Francesco Totti Roma film from BeOn

René Rechtman, SVP AOL Networks International, announced the creation of BeOn when speaking at AOL’s 2013 Digital Content Newfront event in New York, which included the premier of the company's first specially created piece of content delivered in partnership with Roma FC and featuring legendary striker Francesco Totti.

The new company will see the opening of a new office in New York as well as bases in London and Los Angeles, while the content created by the organisation will be adapted across mobile, tablet and desktop screens.

“We will look to work in partnership with some of the best creative agencies in the world and distribute the content which was goviral’s speciality. We will not only provide the cutting edge social data and impressions and clicks through that everyone else is doing. We are looking in the direction of above-the-line advertising such as brand uplift, engagement and interest in buying products using our own and ComScore data,” Rechtman explained to The Drum.

He added that an emphasis on content by marketers and brands was apparent as cross platform consumption of the internet increased.

“Suddenly we’re consuming and creating content on our mobile devices and tablets on a bigger scale and we are moving away from the traditional way of consuming content. There is a change in behaviour as we are always ‘on’. When people use social or upload videos to YouTube, it’s content but it’s not monetisable and most of the time we don’t want to see it. It’s like going to the Tate Gallery and allowing everyone to put in their own creations. How valuable would that be? Zero.

“What you need is someone to help create great content that is high impact and tells good stories otherwise we don’t see it or interact with it. That is why we are seeing brands such as Nike (Nike Fuelband), Red Bull (Felix Baumgartner Stratos Freefall) and Starbucks (social media adverts) forgetting about traditional advertising and creating assets in the form of video, text, bands and apps that we consumers find valuable.”

He continued by claiming that there had been a lack in the change of behaviour around TV advertising, but said that it was now beginning to shift towards a focus online.

“Before, advertising on the internet could not create scale and if you were a CMO of an FMCG company, you did all your advertising around experiences, you would make an advert around that and you give it to a TV channel where you would have millions of people watching it. So the thinking was ‘why use the internet?’ That will change over the next four or five years.”

Rechtman added from research conducted by the company, around 80 per cent of respondents said that they would take budget from TV advertising to create storytelling content which offered scale and a rich experience.

"I believe we will continue to see screen-specific format but the way we are going to consume first screen will be the same as we do on phones and tablets through the use of apps or by created platforms,” he said.

The film created for Roma FC by the service, filmed during a Roma v Lazio game, will be syndicated across Asia, North America and Europe. The film was made following an agreement with BeOn worldwide partner James Pallotta, owner of both Roma FC and the Boston Celtics, as he aims to turn Roma into a global brand.

Starcom MediaVest is the first UK agency to work with the newly-formed company, where it is expected to launch the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 campaign on 1 May.

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