Over the last few weeks, AOL’s video strategy has blasted off, with new shows from Next New Networks and Vuguru being added. The new focus on video content comes from this month’s complete redesign of the AOL.com home page, which emphasizes visual media and a more topical focus.
“We looked at what our mission should be — informing, entertaining, and connecting visitors with the world,” AOL Home Page General Manager Chris Grosso said via phone, “And video was a big part of that.”
The 15 million people who visit AOL.com every day, according to Grosso, skew to the heavily media savvy, with extremely high usage of VOD and DVR services and a tendency to multitask — thus, Grosso believes, showing the audience has a strong interest in online video content. “The audience wants things that are very topical, news-driven. Celebrity-driven content also does well,” Grosso said. “Visitors are very well-informed, often looking for the story behind the story.”
This plays into the home page programming strategy, which is broken down according to parts of the day. In the mornings, the content has a more newsy focus, with featured videos including the topical series You’ve Got.
Afternoons include more “snacky” content, such as NNN’s The One, which runs daily at 1:oo p.m. ET (just in time for afternoon lunch or coffee breaks). Evenings feature more service-y content, such as how-to videos from recent AOL acquisition 5min or internally produced Stylist makeover tips.
Soon to be included in the mix is a minimum of six scripted series from Vuguru. “I’m pretty sure we won’t be the only scripted content on AOL,” Vuguru President Larry Tanz said via phone, “But we are a key part of the premium scripted part of their strategy.”
Teenagers don’t make up much of the AOL home page audience, according to Grosso — the average age of the AOL home page visitor is 39 to 40 — but Tanz said that Vuguru’s more teen-friendly content might be seeded out to AOL-owned properties like the adolescent-skewing Cambio.
However, Tanz was certain not to underestimate the home page’s ability to launch a show, even one aimed at a specific demographic. “The home page will be a place for discovery — it’s an amazing platform to launch properties,” he said.
Disclosure: In the past, I freelanced for the AOL-owned Lemondrop.com. I have not written for the site since December 2009.
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