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Jan 31st 2014

Actress Signs National Anthem for AOL.com

While many viewers will be listening to Renee Fleming and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra perform the national anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium, not everyone will be able to hear it. To truly make this event inclusive for ALL who are watching and playing, the National Association of the Deaf and PepsiCo have selected actress Amber Zion to perform the anthem in American Sign Language.

Just yesterday, we had the honor of having Amber record The National Anthem with us in advance of her upcoming performance at one of the most-watched events of the year. Posted this morning to AOL.com, we're thrilled to share this sneak peak with our audience.

Check out the video to learn the song and sign along with Amber as she performs in front of millions on Sunday:

Dec 4th 2013

Brian Balthazar Joins AOL As Executive Producer and Head of Programming For AOL.com

I'm thrilled to announce that Brian Balthazar is joining AOL.com as Executive Producer and Head of Programming. Brian's experience is unparalleled and unique – he has original TV programming expertise as well as a world-class production background. He will play a leading role in the future of AOL.com as we program a loved and engaging destination for our loyal viewers. He is one of the most creative and talented people in the programming industry today, and we're looking forward to Brian officially joining our team in January.

In addition, Brian is a nationally recognized pop culture expert who has spent his entire career managing premiere consumer media brands.

He joins AOL from HGTV where he was Director of Original Programming and Development -- overseeing more than 500 hours of programming for many of the network's most popular titles and some of my personal favorites, like "House Hunters" and "Selling New York/Selling LA."

Prior to HGTV, Brian spent many years at NBC and the Today Show, where he launched the very successful fourth hour of "TODAY" with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

I sat down with Brian recently to get his thoughts on joining the AOL family.

Aug 28th 2013

AOL Welcomes Luke Beatty as Head of Strategic Partnerships

I'm excited to announce that Luke Beatty is joining AOL as Head of Strategic Partnerships. In this newly created position, Luke will work with our business development, technology, advertising and content teams to create partnerships that will leverage outside thinking and resources to help build better products and services.

Luke's passion for the industry is coupled with deep roots in the digital media, content and tech spaces. His addition to the team is a great moment for us as we continue to open up AOL's content and capabilities to the best partners in the world.

His background includes Techstars – the world's leading seed fund accelerator located in Boulder – where he was the Managing Director; and Yahoo, where he was a VP and central business lead for its crowd-driven properties: Flickr, Yahoo Local, Yahoo Groups, Yahoo Answers and Yahoo Contributor Network in the Americas.

In 2004, Luke founded Associated Content, an extremely successful venture whose first investor was Tim Armstrong. Known as the first and the largest crowdsourcing content collection platform in the world, Associated Content enabled hundreds of thousands of individuals to publish and generate revenue from the millions of articles, videos and images they contributed and built the web's largest freelancer community and distributed that community's content to media partners including Reuters, Yahoo and Turner. Luke ran Associated Content until Yahoo acquired it in 2010.

We're confident Luke will make a huge impact at AOL and look forward to his leadership. Please join me in welcoming him to the team on September 9.

For updates and the latest news from AOL, follow AOL PR on Twitter.

Jul 24th 2013

It's Time for Programmatic to Explode Creativity



Coming on the heels of our successful Digital Content NewFront in late April, we announced today that we are holding the first ever Programmatic Upfront event on Sept. 23 -- the first day of Advertising Week 2013 -- for more than 150 clients, media, analysts and investors. The theme of the AOL Networks Programmatic Upfront is "Programmatic Explodes Creativity." We will celebrate the creativity headed our way as technology, data and automation free up marketers and agencies to do wildly imaginative things.

Since the 1970s, TV has been the primary beneficiary of upfront buying. In the last two years, digital has also held upfronts, with a heavy emphasis on video inventory. But as chief marketing officers and other brand stewards come to terms with the reality that proving ad spend ROI is "the new black", there is every reason to believe advertisers will soon be willing to pre-allocate media budgets against large scale display inventory.

The online advertising industry has created a fear and chaos-based environment filled with hundreds of small companies each pitching highly technical necessities to drive digital spend and achieve ROI. At AOL, we believe this must change. CMO's can't embrace digital much further without a simpler connection between people and platforms. They can't shift their budgets from TV until we - as an industry - demonstrate the true power of digital to unlock creativity.

We believe this is the first of what will become an annual industry event -- just like the Digital NewFronts. At AOL, we want to lead this new revolution and help define a new way of buying in the programmatic space.

Recent stats from eMarketer show just how big this business is and will be in the coming years. eMarketer estimates U.S. advertisers will spend more than $3.36 billion on real-time bidding this year, up from just under $2 billion in 2012 and less than $1 billion in 2011. eMarketer expects double-digit increases in spending each year through 2017, when real-time bidding will account for more than $8.49 billion in digital ad spending-or 29% of all digital display spending.*

Check out the event details below.

AOL Networks Programmatic Upfront
Date: September 23, 2013
Location: Skylight West, 500 West 36th Street (@ 10th Avenue)
Time: 5:00-7:00PM ET
Invitation only event

The event will feature marketers and agency executives who will showcase the business rationale that illustrates why upfront programmatic commitments are critical to their business strategy. Speakers will talk about the creative revolution that is made possible by automation.

Brand, agency and industry participants in the AOL Networks Programmatic Upfront will be announced at a later date.

*eMarketer Digital Intelligence Report (April 4, 2013): RTB Ad Spend Continues Robust Growth

Jul 19th 2013

Feeding the Curiosity Monster

One of AOL's core values is embracing change and we're encouraged to have "a DNA of curiosity," to think big and take chances. It's a great topic of conversation, and as one of AOL's cultural ambassadors I love learning how others keep their curiosity monster well-fed. Last week I attended AOL Advertising's new speaker series, Masters of Advertising, where David Shing, a thought leader and member of senior management presented his telescopic view of creativity and how brands can differentiate themselves in the bustling digital marketplace. Here are a few things I learned:

  • Attention is the new currency. David mentioned that most users download over 40 apps to their smartphone or tablet and actively use a core set of about five. It is a brand marketer's challenge to retool how they approach securing that mindshare in order to successfully gain market share.
  • Exercise your right brain every day. The daily grind of the work week is inherently tethered to our left brain guru. I don't know about you, but I find myself keeping more tabs on my to do lists and project plans than stretching my right brain beyond its comfort zone. David encouraged the audience to start channeling their individual creativity by stepping away from the spreadsheets and exercising the other parts of the brain.
  • Ideas are everywhere. There is a wealth of content available not only for consumption, but also for inspiration. "Contagious videos" are a growing portion of that content, they tell the brand story from a human experience. David shared the following thought-provoking examples during his presentation: Driving Dogs, Metro Train PSA, Fallen Angels (UK).

For more on David Shing's take on creativity in the digital space, click here.

Learn more about AOL and how you can embrace your DNA of curiosity by visiting the AOL Careers site for a list of exciting opportunities. Also keep up-to-date on all things AOL Advertising by following them on Twitter.

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