AOL kicks off its “First Look” upfront presentation this afternoon in New York and, aside from serving as a showcase for its TV network-like broadband program offerings, the main point it wants advertisers to take away from the event is this: we have completed our transition from subscriber-based ISP to an ad-supported media business.
The presentation is the brainchild of AOL chairman and CEO Randy Falco, who previously served as president and chief operating officer of the NBC Universal Television Group after working for the company for three decades. To get ready for its first programming showcase, AOL executives began visiting advertisers and agencies last month to offer previews of coming shows. For its fall shows, AOL has lined up deals with studios such as with leading production companies, including Mark Burnett, DreamWorks, Endemol, Madison Road Entertainment, Stone & Co and Telepictures. Among the list of programs AOL will be touting today are:
— Gold Rush Goes Hollywood: The second season of the Mark Burnett game show Gold Rush has players compete in daily pop culture trivia games for cash. Finalists face off in a “real-life hunt through Hollywood for a million dollars in gold.” The original Gold Rush attracted nearly 11 million users, AOL says.
— The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tie-in: The eponymous talk show, created by Telepictures, comes to AOL in a cross-platform collaboration that lets people share hometown tales.
— Ye Olde Shrek the Third Royal Tournament: Produced by Burnett with Dreamworks and AOL. Related to the film Shrek the Third, this daily online game has 25 Shrek games taking place over a six-week period. The game will also feature news, downloads, events promoting the movie. It launches April 26, three weeks before the movie hits theaters.
— Million Dollar Bill: Contestants play daily online games to reveal serial numbers of U.S. dollar bills in active circulation. Top players get to compete on TV, while viewers at home play along for a chance to win a million dollars. It launches 1Q08. The program is co-produced by AOL, Madison Road Entertainment, Stone & Co. and Viewer Rewards.
— iLand: Endemol produced show where contest finalists move to a remote island and compete to build a civilization. Viewers can help shape the outcome, which involves an unusual grand prize