With video more at the center of AOL’s content plans following its homepage makeover, the company is looking to outside partners to help attract regular viewers and advertisers. When it unveiled the new homepage, it highlighted coming work with with IAC’s Electus production studio as well as video producer Next New Networks. AOL’s latest partnership is with Michael Eisner’s Vuguru, which has agreed to create at least six original scripted series for AOL.
Eisner launched Vuguru through his media investment company Tornante in 2006. The digital content studio got some pretty good buzz from its webisode series Prom Queen about two years ago, but nothing since has captured that level of attention.
Part of the problem has been distribution. That’s where Vuguru hopes AOL (NYSE: AOL) comes in. For AOL’s part, it needs video with high production values to appeal to what it hopes will be the online equivalent of a mass audience.
Each of the videos produced by Vuguru for AOL run as a continuous story, for about 90 minutes in length. It’s not clear what kind of a program or programs Vuguru will be working on, but the announcement makes references to “cliff-hangers” or natural breaks so that they can be chopped into segments for easy distribution.
With Vuguru on board, AOL is showing how it is trying to carefully balance both professional and user-gen as part of its overall approach to content.
On the journalism side, AOL has built up a large roster of high-profile editorial names and acquisitions like Techcrunch to solidify its news offerings. At the same time, has been working on its freelance portal Seed as well.
In the video area, AOL has the aforementioned studios on board, while the acquisitions, such as DIY site 5min and freelance video aggregator StudioNow, are meant to give it a hand in managing the wider user-gen space. Release