On the evening of April 29, AOL held its 2014 Digital Content NewFront event at the Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn, New York. More than 3,000 people were in attendance; a captivated audience of agencies, advertisers, publishers, content creators, and creative partners who journeyed across the river to experience the AOL Originals showcase.
The theme for the 2014 NewFront was "Connected," a continuation of our strategy from 2013 (and 2012). AOL wants to connect content, publishers, and advertisers by utilizing both technology and human touch. In the near future, it means we want to connect Digital and TV. Contrary to some digital companies, we believe that both TV and Digital will evolve into something new, exhibiting the best attributes of both mediums. This is the "convergence" media has been fixated on for years but has only started to become a reality because of advances in technology and consumer adoption.
This manifests itself across five pillars every future media company will need to master in order to survive: Creation, Curation, Distribution, Programming, and Monetization. We want to create premium video content that attracts and delights audiences, to curate the best video content from partners, to distribute all of this content to as many screens as possible, to use actual humans to program this content so we don't fall prey to bad algorithmic experiences, and we want to monetize these experiences while maintaining the user experience.
Tim Armstrong kicked off the evening with stories about the historical significance of the Brooklyn bridge in connecting two disparate places, tying that metaphor to our mission in video to connect TV and digital. Ran Harnevo added context to our theme of "Connected" by outlining where the industry is, where we believe it's going, and how exactly AOL is planning to connect it all. What followed was rapid-fire presentations of our series by the celebrities who star in and produce them, including Steve Buscemi, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zoe Saldana, Kevin Nealon, Portia de Rossi, Mike Epps, and more. Laura Jane Grace gave a powerful live performance, and Nicole Richie and AOL Platforms CEO Bob Lord shared the stage to bring some humor to programmatic buying and the significance of the Adap.tv platform.
All told, AOL Originals announced 16 new series in 2014. Our tagline – "Authentic Voices, Remarkable Stories" – continues from 2013 and informs all of our new shows including our first foray into long-form series. A description for each of the 2014 Original Slate new shows can be found on the AOL NewFront site.
In addition to our slate, we announced an innovative approach to measurement between AOL and Nielsen. A leader in bridging the measurement gap with TV, we have once again been first-to-market partners with Nielsen in an announcement that AOL On will receive show-level TV ratings across all of our content, including the 2014 slate. We will soon be able to compare the ratings of an original series on AOL with the ratings of a television show. For traditional ad buyers, this will be a huge step forward in convincing brands to start shifting more of their spend to premium digital content.
To view our AOL Originals, as well as our full catalogue of premium content, go to on.aol.com
, and stay tuned for new show launches throughout 2014 and 2015.