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Joining the ranks of digital companies which have organized their premium video holdings into hubs of curated program channels, AOL (s AOL) announced Tuesday the launch of the AOL On Network.
On this hub, the oft-reinvented AOL will sift through a library of over 320,000 short-form videos created by more than 1,000 publishers. Content will be divided into 14 channels, breaking down into the usual formats of food, business, entertainment, style, tech, travel, health, etc.
“Consumers need a destination to discover videos on the topics that matter when they want them,” said Ran Harnevo, senior VP, video, AOL On.
Reaching an audience of 43.7 million unique video viewers in March, according to research company comScore, AOL will make its channels available on computers and mobile devices, as well as living-room boxes such as Roku, Boxee, Google TV and Samsung smart TVs.
In unveiling AOL On Network to TV advertising buyers in New York Tuesday night for AOL’s “Digital Newfront” presentation, the company also introduced a number of new original programs that will run on its spiffy new hub:
— Nina Garcia: The eponymous Project Runway fashion guru looks to advise an advertiser-coveted audience of women aged 18-34 how they can accentuate their appearance.
— Tiger Beat Entertainment: Jointly produced by Jennifer Lopez’ Nuyorican Productions, show targets tweens and young adults with a barrage of lifestyle and pop-culture subject matter.
— Digital Justice: A weekly reality show that follows digital forensic investigators as they solve cybercrimes. The series went live Tuesday on AOL On’s tech channel (AOL On Tech). It can also be seen at HuffPost Crime,
— Fetching: Written by Amy Harris, a former producer on HBO’s Sex and the City, this new scripted comedic drama follows a young NYC lawyer who quits her job and calls off her engagement in the same week, fulfilling dreams of running her own doggy daycare center.
— ur + 1: Structured like a sports fantasy league, interactive gaming channel will allow users to pick “fantasy” teams of celebrities, then compete for points based on the amount of coverage they get on AOL platforms including HuffPost Celebrity, HuffPost Entertainment, Moviefone, AOL Music and HuffPost TV.
The big play, of course, is to try to take a share of linear television’s $70 billion-plus annual advertising haul.
“The AOL offering can be a compliment or viable alternative to traditional TV-buying strategies, and we are well-positioned not only from a scale perspective, but from a programming perspective to capture TV dollars,” Harnevo said. “It is undeniable that online video has strategic advantages relative to TV, and we have the programming, audience and measurement tools to not only target audiences but find them where they are on the web.”
While traditional TV presents a rich target, the bigger competition for AOL would seem to be more entrenched digital stalwarts like Google/YouTube (s GOOG), which has a head start in terms of creating sponsored premium video channels and dwarfs AOL’s reach with 181.1 million unique viewers alone in March, according to comScore.
Yahoo (s YHOO), meanwhile, also has a reach advantage as it attempts to plunder the same TV market, garnering 60.6 million unique viewers in March for its video products.