Sugar Inc. is growing fast, and video will be a key part of its future: The company recently raised $15 million — bringing total funding to $46 million — and is on the verge of expanding its stable of women’s lifestyle properties. As part of that initiative, it has teamed up with AOL’s (s AOL) 5min to distribute its video assets to hundreds of publishers across the web.
Since acquiring 5min, AOL has seen its video views drastically increase, driven in part by a greater number of video producers and publishers that have signed on to its distribution network. It’s now the Number 2 video distributor on the web, according to comScore (s SCOR) — second only to YouTube in terms of video views.
5min’s network works by matching up contextually targeted videos to be displayed on partner’s websites, with ads attached. The video creators, publisher sites and 5min then split revenues from ads that are shown against the videos. For video creators, the 5min model offers a way to get long-tail videos seen by viewers and on sites that wouldn’t have otherwise shown them without a direct relationship. And for publishers, the addition of contextually relevant videos ads another way to engage with viewers (plus, the incremental revenue from video ads is also nice).
Sugar is hoping to leverage 5min to increase views of its video library beyond its own network sites. Evan Schreiber, VP of Content Strategy and Acquisition at 5min, told us in a phone interview that Sugar produces at least 125 videos a month and has a library of more than 2,000 video assets that will become a part of 5min’s video network. As a result, the deal will bolster 5min’s ability to serve the women’s lifestyle demographic, adding thousands of video assets to its Fashion, Fitness, Arts and People verticals. The lifestyle segment is one that already includes some significant content producers, including the Style Network, (s CMCSA) Elle and FabTV.
While AOL is continually trying to strike deals to bring more publisher sites on board, it has also created a self-serve model to make it easier for them to insert 5min videos into their sites. According to Schreiber, the company has created a way for publishers to sign up and serve videos with a dynamic widget that can be easily customized and added to their sites.