AOL has partnered with Channel 4 News, ITN and Scripps Networks International among others to launch its AOL On video platform in the UK.
Following launches in the US and Canada, the company signed up content providers Channel 4 News – the first third-party deal of its kind for Channel 4 – ITN, Scripps Networks International, MyMovies and LittleDot to acquire clips from UK shows such as Supernanny and Embarrassing Bodies.
The video service provides both curated and original content in a short form version – clips last around five minutes each – covering news, entertainment, sport, lifestyle and a host of other categories. AOL is also leveraging its international content relationships with brands such as Discovery, E Entertainment and Associated Press.
The content is distributed through a network of publishers including Trinity Mirror, TalkTalk and TV Guide, as well as AOL’s own platforms such as The Huffington Post UK and TechCrunch.
In the US, AOL On recently overtook YouTube in terms of the amount of content produced and according to Mark Melling, AOL’s director of mobile and video strategy, the appeal for advertisers is the opportunity to maximise presence in an increasingly video-friendly environment without the risks associated with user-generated content.
“Our main USP is no user generated content. YouTube is definitely a big part of online video, however for advertisers they can sometimes get nervous about the type of content that they’re associated with,” he told The Drum.
“We think it’s very important to offer advertisers a place online where they can advertise at scale but also be very comfortable with the type of content they’re running it from.”
The venture is funded entirely through pre-roll advertising and according to Melling there are no imminent plans to charge for any content. In the US, the response has been “massive”, and its investment into content creation through AOL originals – such as Nicole Ritchie’s Candidly Nicole show, which has amassed more than 20 million views – has contributed to the service being named number one in comScore’s video category as top premium digital video provider.
“It’s definitely something that users are excited about, but it’s also something that publishers on our network are excited about,” he continued. “There’s definitely a delta in great publishers’ ability to acquire online content and premium online content in a timely manner and at scale, the reason being that online video is very expensive to produce.
“By joining our network they get access to our library of over 750,000 premium videos – no user generated content, only premium video, and that allows them to keep up with the pretty much insatiable demand of today’s online consumer.”
Graham Moysey, head of international at AOL, added: “We’re coming to the market with a new offering at a time when there is an increasing appetite and demand for online video from advertisers and consumers.
“AOL On is already the web’s largest premium curated video library and today we’re launching with some of the UK’s leading content producers and publishers and looking forward to getting many more on board in the coming months.”
An AOL On UK app will launch for iOS and Android devices in early April, and AOL has struck partnerships with Samsung and Sony to create a connected TV presence as well.