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Oct 7th 2011

Laugh, Love and Learn With AOL's New Video Series



It's no secret that online video is popular. Really popular. In fact, we've grown unique visitors to our video properties 86% year over year*. We've have grown our library to more than 300,000 premium videos and we've been #1 in video on key topics such as technology, autos, travel, fashion, food and home. AOL Video is one of the top-10 video platforms on the Web with 43.9 million unique viewers and 403.6 million U.S. streams per month**. We believe in the future of online video and bringing it to our consumers everywhere they live on AOL.

Our original series, You've Got, our one-minute daily series on AOL.com, just surpassed 100 million views.

Our relaunched Sessions series on AOL Music, grew 208% year over year***, and attracted 3 million streams in August 2011.

But not to rest on our laurels, we're going to take it to a whole new level. We're excited to announce 15 new original video series featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment business about some of the topics our consumers care most about. Some of the series are already live, and the remaining series will roll out over the next several months. Many of the shows are produced in-house by the AOL Studios team in Los Angeles and New York.

Included in these new series, is "Tiger Beat Entertainment", an entertainment news and lifestyle show for teens and young adults, produced in collaboration with Jennifer Lopez and her company Nuyorican Productions, along with Believe Entertainment Group. It will be distributed through and in partnership with AOL and Cambio, a venture of the Jonas Group, MGX Lab and AOL, and will be produced at Cambio's Hollywood studio.

Here's a snapshot of the rest of our exciting new series, featuring a lot of names you know:

  • Little Women, Big Cars: From bake sales and soccer games to gossip and divorce, four moms navigate the comedy and drama of suburban life. Starring Ed Begley Jr., Antonio Sabato, Jr., Julie Warner and Kristy Swanson. Produced by Vuguru.
  • A Supermodel Stole My Husband: A lighthearted makeover show in which a frustrated wife enlists an adored supermodel to help transform her husband. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • Heidi Klum on AOL: A guide to fabulous living for everyday women, including fashion, beauty, parenting, lifestyle, fitness and nutrition. Produced by Full Picture.
  • Jocks & Jills: Sports show meets The View in a fresh and funny sports talk show hosted by a rotating panel of diverse celebrity guests. Produced by Flavor Unit Productions.
  • Lost in Translation: Reality series following Angie Martinez, hip hop DJ and famous 'Nuyorican,' as she attempts to learn Spanish, learn to cook, date and reclaim her Puerto Rican heritage. Produced by Flavor Unit Productions.
  • Fearless Living: Based on her bestselling book, On Becoming Fearless, Arianna Huffington, looks at the many aspects of living a fearless life – from motherhood and parenting to beauty and health to navigating the workplace to friendship, relationships, and aging gracefully. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • The Tanning Effect: Steve Stoute, bestselling author of The Tanning of America, interviews entertainment icons and pop culture thought leaders including Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams; the series is sponsored by State Farm. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • Sessions: Original, exclusive performances with hitmakers like Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Adele and Lady Gaga. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • Unscripted: Celebrity co-stars interview each other – with users' burning questions. Past talent includes Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Aniston, Robert Pattinson and Adam Sandler. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • You've Got: Everyday, everyone from Barack Obama to Elmo to Matt Damon tells the world what "You've Got". Produced by AOL Studios.
  • Autoblog - The List: Hosts who consider themselves true automotive aficionados must tackle crazy car challenges off of 'The List,' created by Autoblog's expert editors. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • The Interface: Exclusive performances from breaking artists, including the best up-and-coming artists like Mumford and Sons, Rogue Wave, Manchester Orchestra and The National. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • MMA Hour: Get up close and personal with the celebrities of the MMA Fighting world, from the web's best MMA Fighting resource. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • The Engadget Show: Industry leaders and tech luminaries take the stage in front of one of the largest audiences of tech enthusiasts. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • CliffsNotes Films: Short, animated, irreverent and interactive versions of literary classics, with Sony Pictures' film Anonymous (releasing October 28th) as the exclusive sponsor of the first six shorts. Produced by Mark Burnett, Coalition Films, Josh Faure-Brac and AOL Studios.
  • AIM High: TV broadcast-quality action series following Nick Green as he juggles high school with being a secret government agent. Starring Jackson Rathbone from Twilight and Aimee Teegarden from Friday Night Lights. Produced by Warner Brothers.

We hope you tune in. Thanks for watching.

Sources:
*August 2011 comScore Video Metrix
**June 2011 comScore Video Metrix, based on Content Type Videos
***August 2011 Omniture SiteCatalyst

Oct 7th 2011

A Grand Slam of New Sites: Introducing Huff/Post50, HuffPost High School, HuffPost Gay Voices, and HuffPost Weddings

I hope you are all in the mood to try new things, because I am delighted to announce four new additions to the Huffington Post menu today: Huff/Post50, HuffPost High School, HuffPost Gay Voices, and HuffPost Weddings (how's that for a diverse quartet?).

Let's start with Huff/Post50, our new site devoted to those of us who are part of the so-called "baby boom" generation born between 1946 and 1964 (the site's name was the brainchild of Rita Wilson, Huff/Post50's editor-at-large). There are currently 77 million of us in America (and 116 million aged 50 and over).

Our country has a very schizophrenic relationship with aging. On the one hand, we are a culture that is obsessed with youth and staying young. At the same time, thanks to advances in science, health, and medicine, Boomers are living longer and staying more active than ever before.

Huff/Post50 covers the challenges, complexities, and joys faced by Boomers -- everything from the "sandwich" pressures of simultaneously taking care of children and aging parents, to navigating the latest innovations in health and the science of aging, to sex and relationships at 50+ , to the question of reinventing oneself -- either out of necessity (sudden unemployment) or a desire to explore new interests and find new meaning in life.

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that there are no second acts in American life. Boomers are proving him wrong on a daily basis. After all, I co-founded HuffPost in my mid-50s. And I'm far from alone in launching a new project after 50. Indeed, one of the reasons I asked Rita to help create Huff/Post50 was how inspired I was by seeing her pursue her lifelong dream of performing in a musical, realized when she made her Broadway debut, at age 49, in Chicago.

Huff/Post50 will question the conventional wisdom that life post-50 is about winding down, and spotlight other Boomers who embrace the idea of taking on new challenges and reinventing themselves, regardless of their age. It will offer the latest news and information on the issues that matter most to men and women 50+, including health, relationships, politics, retirement planning, spirituality, humor, culture, philanthropy, and facing illness and death. And we are creating a robust community for conversation and engagement on all these topics.

Huff/Post50 of course features a dynamic and vibrant group blog. Among those weighing in today are Bill Maher, on being in his fifties and finally being able to "see over the crest of the mountain"; Ann and Nancy Wilson on the important role music can play in life's journey; Christiane Amanpour on life's certainties evaporating after 50; and Rita Wilson on learning how to rebalance being there for her loved ones while exploring all the things she still wants to do. We are also launching our "Late Blooming" series with a funny and revealing Q/A with Jane Lynch.

Located on the other end of the demographic spectrum is HuffPost High School, devoted to teens and the issues they care about. The new section features content from some of the nation's top teen journalists and writers, and a group blog where teen bloggers can weigh in on everything from college prep to high school sports, to homework, to the role technology plays in their lives, to comedy, poetry, politics, proms and beyond.

Over the years, HuffPost has regularly covered the troubled state of America's education system, with plunging test scores, skyrocketing dropout rates, and crumbling classrooms. It's a system that's become a bloody battlefield, with our children too often getting caught in the crossfire.

But these failures are symptoms of flawed policies, an antiquated approach to learning, and our leaders' perverted priorities -- not a reflection of the intelligence, curiosity, and passions of our nation's teens. Indeed, as I travel around the country, I've been consistently impressed by the talented young people I meet, so many of them engaged by the most important issues of our time, and committed to being part of making a difference in the world. HuffPost High School intends to put the spotlight on them, and to give them a safe and welcoming platform to talk about what's really happening in their lives -- socially, academically, and culturally.

Driven by the creative input of smart, talented young people with a desire to share their ideas, we hope the site will become a go-to destination for -- and by -- America's teens. To this end, we've forged a long list of partnerships, including with TeensinTech.com (their "Teen 2.0" column will highlight amazing teen entrepreneurs around the country); Dosomething.org (they've developed a widget for HuffPost High that helps make stories on the section "actionable"); Varsitynetworks.com (to help cover high school sports); Figment.com (featuring some of the best student fiction and poetry); and iKeepSafe.org (a group devoted to making the web a safe place for teens).

The third of our new sites is HuffPost Gay Voices, a section offering the latest news and unfiltered opinion on any and all matters of interest to the LGBT community. The issues addressed will be as varied as the community itself. Everything is fair game, including -- but not limited to -- race, class, ethnicity, faith, family, sex, work, culture, marriage, civil rights, and politics, as well as everyday topics such as travel, food, style, health, and celebrity gossip.

HuffPost has long covered LGBT news, culture, and opinion -- with a special focus on the struggle over gay rights. We've cheered the advances (the repeal of DADT, the incremental advance of same-sex marriage), and criticized the setbacks (boos rained on a gay soldier's question during a GOP debate, the recent refusal of an appeals court to rule DADT unconstitutional, complicating the efforts of discharged gay service members to be reinstated). HuffPost Gay Voices provides a platform for all these stories to live in one place -- making it easier for readers to find, share, and discuss them. In the end, HuffPost Gay Voices is just that, a section comprised, first and foremost, of voices -- offering opinions as diverse as the community they spring from.

Today, you can check out our not-to-be-missed interview with Lady Gaga, where she weighs in on bisexuality, outing, DADT, pop culture's ability to change society, and creative re-invention. We also have the exclusive debut of lesbian folk singer Melissa Ferrick's new video "Still Right Here," and, coming later in the week, a slideshow on the gayest moments on Glee. And we have fresh takes from Margaret Cho, blogging on why she considers herself queer even though she's married to a man; Bruce Vilanch on the community he found while attending the North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival; and "Glitterbomber" Nick Espinosa on what it's like being a straight male activist for gay rights.

Finally, we are also launching HuffPost Weddings, a section that will cover the joys and headaches of weddings and modern marriage. At HuffPost, we've always done things unconventionally, so it should be no surprise that one year after launching our popular Divorce site, we've decided to go back to the beginning with a site bringing you the latest news and opinion on getting -- and staying -- married.

We'll cover it all, from wedding day minutiae (gowns! cakes! bridesmaids! first dances!), to dream honeymoons, to anniversaries, to the latest research on coupledom, to the challenges of making a modern marriage last.

Launch day stories include a post from reporter Catherine Pearson on the trend toward unconventional weddings and the couples who have them; a look at ten video marriage proposals that went viral; a collection of our readers' wedding day disaster stories; the first installment of our "10 Things You Don't Know About My Marriage," from Joy Behar; a slideshow of The Most Awkward Wedding Photos of All Time; a Q/A with the National Marriage Project's Brad Wilcox about a new report that reveals the many ways marriage is good for the economy; and a blog post from Lori Leibovich, our Executive Women's Editor, about IndieBride, a site she founded and which will now be part of HuffPost Weddings.

These four sections bring the number of new sections we've launched since March to 21 -- all part of our continued effort to provide content, community, and a platform for self-expression for as many of our readers' interests and passions as we can.

So check out Huff/Post50, HuffPost High School, HuffPost Gay Voices, and HuffPost Weddings and use the comment section on this post to let us know what you think -- and what other interests and passions you'd like to see us cover.

(This post was originally posted on The Huffington Post)

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