@ AOL First Look: AOL’s ‘Amplify My Buy’ To Work With Advertisers And TV Nets

In addition to unveiling its upcoming broadband entertainment offerings at its First Look upfront, AOL also demonstrated some new ad-related initiatives. In an interview before the big event Mike Kelly, president of AOL Media Networks, told me that the company doesn’t see itself in competition with the broadcast and cable networks. As those networks prepare their upfront presentations, AOL has crafted a marketing program called “Amplify Your Buy,” which gives advertisers the opportunity to partner with the internet company on digital programming and advertising fare. Kelly: “When an advertiser is doing business with the broadcast networks or cable companies, and they like a particular digital programming idea, they can work with us to blow those ideas out. So, far from than challenging TV, we’re doing this here to help the customers.” Despite those sentiments, a press release sent out following the event was headlined TV May Have New Competitor in New AOL Online Programs. Another small blow to the notion of peaceful coexistence was struck when Randy Falco, AOL’s chairman and CEO – and former NBC TV exec – noted during his presentation he recognized the faces of media buyers and marketers from past broadcast fall previews. “I know that you’re going to be attending the network upfronts soon, that’s why we want to get your attention now.” Getting back to Kelly, he elaborated on the goals of First Look earlier:

From ISP to ad-supported media company: “We ended last year with almost $2 billion in ad revenue, which makes us the third biggest interactive ad business in the world. So we haven’t just started this. This gathering does represent an interesting benchmark. We have a huge number of advertisers that are participating in helping us build online programming opportunities.”

On the game-show domination: “What we’ve found with Gold Rush last year was that the more you involve the consumer, the more they can shape the experience, you have a better product and a more engaged audience. The elements of interactivity, such as messaging and search and blogging, and you put that against programming like this, it really sucks the consumer in and gets them involved and enthusiastic. It keeps them coming back and it gives the marketers a chance to integrate in a way that is natural to the consumer in terms of moving the program along.”

The reason behind First Look: “The upfront has two purposes

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