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Apr 4th 2012

On Our Mind: AOL Partners with Mindshare Entertainment

As we head into the upfront season, AOL is celebrating a new partnership with Mindshare Entertainment that will generate top class video and social branded experiences by blending Mindshare's creative thinking with AOL's audience insights, distribution network and social capabilities.

The market has seen AOL partner with the likes of BermanBraun and Vuguru, and in this particular instance we are working with one of our biggest agency partners to build and sell content in an alternative way. This deal puts AOL and Mindshare Entertainment, led by Emmy-winning producer David Lang, at the forefront of a growing trend toward the fusion of marketing, entertainment, social media and video for four screens.

By being within an agency Mindshare Entertainment is intricately connected to the clients who have already started to embrace and shift money to creative ideas on the Web, and they've specifically chosen AOL for its distribution network and social capabilities.

As the partnership hits the ground running, the market will see new and exciting opportunities like a social content franchise that will speak to the budget conscious woman through the lenses of fashion, beauty, and DIY. We're also working on a social engagement platform that helps extraordinary Americans fulfill their wildest dreams across the globe.

By cultivating relationships with partners like Mindshare Entertainment, AOL continues to deliver exceptional experiences to audiences. Stay tuned for more exiting updates to come on April 24 during AOL's NewFront presentation.

Feb 22nd 2012

Introducing the Digital Content NewFronts: Where "Brands, Meet Content"

Today AOL announced it has joined forces with Digitas, Hulu, MSN, Yahoo! and YouTube to bring the first-ever Digital Content Newfronts (DCNFs) to the market April 19-May 2, 2012. This incredible partnership has been formed by the marketplace leaders and will showcase online content for consumers, brands and their investments, and agencies. It's no secret that online advertising spend is on an upward trajectory and expected to grow 23% in 2012 to $39.5 billion in the US, surpassing print*. With this in mind, six titans on the Web are partnering to create a meaningful marketplace between brands and native digital content.

For brands and advertisers there is an urgency to invest in quality content at scale, and the power of the AOL network is three-pronged: we enable them to tell stories, we take those stories places by distributing them across our network, and we get people talking. Given our range of branded, premium, social and video-centric programming, we expect to deliver a rich experience to our audience and while continuing to differentiate our value in the advertising marketplace.

Following AOL's showcase on April 24 we are confident brands will truly be energized by the quality and depth of our offerings, and the level of differentiation we offer in the marketplace.

*Source: eMarketer

Feb 17th 2012

Video & Social: The Perfect Soul Mates


Mads Holmen, Planning Director at goviral, took the stage with a full house at Shoreditch Studios yesterday to explore the area of branded video distribution and discuss the ingredients that make content social.

Having worked at goviral since its early days, Holmen gave Social Media Week attendees (a mix of media agencies, publicists and bloggers) a background on goviral, and explained the growth in the video market place since the launch of goviral in 2006.

Mads then launched into a full-fledged interactive session with the audience sharing some examples of great branded content from around the world to establish best practices. This included strong recurring campaigns such as Gatorade Replay, and videos from leading brands such as Samsung and Nike.

Some of these best practices include:
  • Always aim at creating instant attraction. The first 10-15 seconds should create curiosity and interest!
  • Make sure you are telling a story. Be creative or original but make sure the video has a flow and don't drop in to periods where users could be tempted to look elsewhere.
  • Don't give away everything first and leave users with a flat feeling in the end! While remembering to engage users try to build up your video as if you were telling a story

And what other factors contribute to making great content you might ask? Spend time and effort defining your production and format. Do people know it is you just by the touch and feel of the video alone? Answer this question and you can provide a great user journey.

Feb 16th 2012

Introducing Our New iPad Site


Today we've unveiled AOL's brand-new iPad site! We've optimized the entire experience to make it super tablet-friendly. Check it out by going to aol.com on your iPad and then tell us what you think.

This new design provides an easy and fun way to browse through more of AOL's best content including top news, local and entertainment headlines.

WHAT'S NEW:
  • AOL Mail – Tap on the Mail icon at the top of the page to quickly go to your AOL Mail account. Or, sign in to the page itself to get a dedicated mail preview section so that you can see up to 20 previews of your latest unread messages. You can swipe to review your mail, tap on previews to open messages, tap on the compose icon to open compose view, and tap on the header to open your inbox.
  • Apps – Tap on the Apps icon at the top of the page to visit our Mobile Desktop Tablets page and view all available AOL Apps and Mobile Web channels. You'll also find AOL Apps promoted further down the page as well.
  • Top News – View top news headlines with images. Swipe to see all headlines, tap an item to read the full article, and tap on the header to open Huffington Post Front Page to see all articles.
  • Video – Swipe to see featured videos and tap to to play selected videos. Once the video experience is open, you can play that video or tap on additional featured videos below.
  • AOL Music MP3 of the Day – Swipe this section to preview the latest 20 days of AOL Music's MP3 of the Day. Tap play to listen to selection. It will play in-line with continuous play of all 20 MP3s.
  • Moviefone – Swipe see all listings of movies now playing in theaters. If location is set, you will see movie times for nearest theater and movie trailer.

Learn more about the new site and its features by reading the AOL.com Blog.

Feb 14th 2012

Jim Norton, AOL's New Head of Sales, Shares his 2012 Advertising Expectations

Jim Norton, Head of AOL Sales, recently sat down with Katie Bronnenkant of "The Makegood" to discuss his new role. The interview covers a range of topics including Norton's predictions for 2012 advertising trends, the power of the social platform, and the reasoning behind his transition from traditional to digital media. Here are some selected highlights from the article:

The Makegood: Jim, you have spent about 20 years in sales and marketing roles, working in both traditional and digital media for companies including WLVI-TV and Google. What motivated you to make the move from traditional to digital media?

JN: I made the switch in 2006 from traditional to digital. What I kept hearing from customers on the traditional side was a call for metrics and measurement and the "ask" to justify every advertising buy. It was clear that even traditional media buyers were beginning to look at their business through a digital lens.

I decided to take the customer service aspect of traditional and marry that with the analytics and heavy metrics of digital. It was a good combination for me personally. It was clear too that digital was seeing year-over-year gains and TV was not. So ultimately digital was the place to be.

The Makegood: Are there any new initiatives that you can tell us about that marketers can expect to see coming from AOL in 2012?

JN: We are focused on the priorities that we have messaged consistently over the last 2 years: Creating high quality content experiences for consumers as scale. We are going to continue to invest in premium formats (Project Devil) and you will see that available at greater scale; video and mobile will continue to offer robust targeting capabilities and across higher quality content experiences; and we remain committed and enthusiastic about the local opportunity that Patch offers to marketers as they try to move users from pages to parking lots. This is the year we will unleash the power of the social platform that is the Huffington Post.

Learn more about Norton's expanded role and video strategy here.

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