On Tuesday, AOL was excited to be part of our first-ever Digital Content NewFront. In front of a crowd of hundreds of guests including digital marketers, agency representatives and friends of AOL, we presented new offerings and original programming from AOL Video, and the latest innovations from The Huffington Postscheduled to debut later this year, including the launches of "Huffington.", a new iPad magazine app, the Huffington Post Streaming Network and "GPS For The Soul", an iPad app designed to sense your tension level and provide you the right content to lift your mood.
We wanted our NewFront experience to be unique, so we decided to do things a little differently. Splitting the audience into two groups, we created separate experiences for the first half hour, with each panel repeating for the other audience after the half hour was up and the groups switched.
Experience #1, kicked off by AOL's SVP and Head of Sales Jim Norton and led by Janet Balis, SVP & Head of Sales Strategy, was called Powering Ideas, and explored the ways that digital is at a crossroads, and AOL is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this opportunity. Janet shared how AOL builds valuable partnerships to drive results that can move clients' brands forward. Janet took a look back at the content behind Powering Ideas in a post from earlier this morning.
Experience #2 was called Powering Brands, and focused on how AOL is powered by its amazing collection of brands.
After an introduction by AOL Chief Revenue Officer and President of AOL Advertising Ned Brody, Jim Stengel, former Chief Marketing Officer of Procter and Gamble, member of the AOL Board of Directors, and author of "Grow", led a conversation about brand ideals that featured AOL and Huffington Post Editors Michael Hogan (Entertainment), Susan Kaplow (Life and Style), David Kiley (Autos), Christina Norman (Black Voices) and Tim Stevens (Engadget). The editors explained the power and value of brands created through their content.
Next up in Experience #2, Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post Media Group, gave an update on the growth of the Huffington Post, and highlighted 4 new Huffington Post product launches:
Huffington. - A new magazine app that takes the best of the Huffington Post and presents them in the perfect mobile setting.
HuffPost Streaming Network - a 24/7 livestreaming network that will combine Huffington Post's editorial philosophy and strong community into a uniquely social video experience
GPS for the Soul - an app that will measure your stress level and connect you to content that you need to "restore your balance".
Causes - connecting the Huffington Post community brands to help drive awareness of what really matters, through programs like Global Motherhood, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson.
In the final session, led by AOL CEO and Chairman, Tim Armstrong, we introduced The AOL On Network, a new video platform that offers premium content across 14 content channels including food, business, entertainment, style, tech, travel, health and others, and reaches nearly 57 million U.S. consumers.* Read more about The AOL On Network in our blog post from yesterday.
During Tim's session, we were joined by an amazing group of guests on stage:
Nina was joined on stage by fashion designers, and AOL On Style Curators, Erin Fetherston and Rachel Roy, who talked about what inspires them as they create their collections.
Vuguru founder and Chairman Michael Eisner, who spoke about the value of original web content.
The cast of Little Women Big Cars, a new series coming to AOL this summer, Julie Warner, Kristy Swanson, Amy Yasbeck and Romy Rosemont.
Amy Harris, writer of Sex and the City, joined us to talk about her new project called "Fetching", which stars a young woman who quit her job as a lawyer and ended her engagement in hopes of pursuing her dreams of opening a doggy daycare store.
We then capped off the event with a special surprise. Through our partners at Ford, we were able to give away a new Ford Mustang Convertible to a lucky attendee of the event, and pledged to donate $1 for every mile the winner drove in their car for the next 5 years on behalf of our friends at St Jude's Children's Research Hospital, for whom our friend Marlo Thomas is very passionate about.
All in all, it was a great day for AOL and we hope it was for our attendees as well. Read what the social web was saying in our Storify recap by clicking here or viewing it above.
During this week's CES festivities, AOL was invited to participate in VivaKi's week of "Bright Lights, Big Ideas."
More than 200 VivaKi employees, clients and guests were treated to a packed content program. The evening was kicked off by Joshua Fruhlinger, editorial director for AOL Tech, who shared his perspectives on the first day of CES. From "LTE everything" to OLED to the age of superlatives: subtablets, superphones, and ultrabooks, Fruhlinger talked about the latest trends at the show. "Everything is mobile, everyone wants to show that what they have can run an app," he observed. "Angry Birds will be on everything from car dashboards to washing machines." Home networking will also be a big trend, as devices connect to the living room TV. For more of what's happening at the show, check out Engadget's complete CES coverage.
Next, Christian Kugel, AOL VP of Consumer Analytics and Research, took the stage. In anticipation of CES, Engadget identified ten trends – from inductive charging to electric motorcycles – that would impact 2012. Kugel's team then surveyed AOL Tech audiences to capture their interest and excitement of those trends. Readers ranked their top 3 game-changers as cloud computing, device convergence and the emergence of tablets as content creation devices. The audience roared at revelations that nearly half of AOL Tech readers would give up their pet rather than sacrifice their favorite gadget.
The evening concluded with lively conversation between Maurice Levy, Global CEO, Publicis Groupe, and AOL CEO Tim Armstrong. Praising Publicis Groupe as "the most game-changing holding company," Armstrong stated that no one else "took more of a risk" on digital media. Levy quipped: "Ah, we didn't know it was a risk." Levy agreed that convergence was one of the most important trends he was seeing at CES, and when Armstrong asked what advice he had for companies struggling with making the right decisions in a swiftly shifting business climate, Levy parried with a quick "Come see us!" They discussed how brands – not just products – need to be differentiators, and how the new digital landscape has the potential to be an "infinite world of possibility and creativity." Levy turned the tables on Armstrong and quizzed him on AOL's ultimate objectives – and where the company was in its journey. "AOL is about building content brands that matter, at scale," Armstrong responded. "I'd say we are in Inning Two on what we want to achieve."