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Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Analysis for 'AOL'

  • Perspective What's this? The Future of TV: 4 Reasons Why It Will Keep Getting Better

    A new wave of viewers has emerged: they're connected, they know what they want to watch, when they want to watch it, and most importantly, how they want to watch it. They are chomping at the bit for premium content that is both accessible and affordable. At the same time, the advent of OTT and connected TV devices has made way for a whole new viewing experience where "television" simply refers to the largest screen in the house.

    We all know the TV ecosystem of tomorrow will look vastly different than today's current landscape, but what changes can we expect? Here are four predictions for what trends will emerge over the next few months and years:

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  • Survey: 60% of Brands' Video Ad Spending Allocated to Programmatic

    In another sign of programmatic video advertising's rising popularity among brand advertisers,'s newly released 2014 State of the Video Industry report has found that 60% of brands' video ad spending is now allocated to programmatic channels. That compares with 44% for ad networks and 38% for agencies and trading desks.

    However, when it comes to premium video, brands said just 23% of ad spending was done programmatically, reflecting how important publisher direct sales remains for the most coveted ad inventory. In fact, 51% of publishers said they're making premium ad inventory available for sale programmatically, up just slightly from 49% in 2013. Still, private marketplaces continue to gain, with 32% of publishers running one in 2014, up from 20% in 2013.

    continue reading on VideoNuze iQ

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  • AOL Introduces 16 Programs at NewFronts, Gets Nielsen Ratings

    AOL introduced 16 original programs at its NewFronts presentation bash last night at a blustery Brooklyn Navy Yard  I attended along with what seemed like thousands of others. Twelve new programs, from talent including James Franco, Steve Buscemi, Zoe Saldana, Kevin Nealon and others are on the docket, joining 4 originals from last year that were renewed, "Candidly Nicole" with Nicole Richie, "City.Ballet" from Sarah Jessica Parker, "The Future Starts Here" from Tiffany Shlain and "Hardwired 2.0" with iJustine.

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  • AOL Launches First Long-Form Series, "Connected"

    AOL is the latest online video provider to jump into long-form series programming, announcing this morning that it is adapting the Israeli series "Connected" for the U.S. market. Connected will follow the lives of 5 New Yorkers in parallel stories as they unfold and eventually come together. Connected already plays in a dozen countries around the world. It will debut at AOL's NewFronts on April 29th and start its run on AOL in January, 2105.

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  • 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Creating an Original Video Series

    Following is a contributed post by Frank Besteiro, VP and Head of Business Development & Partnerships, The AOL On Network. VideoNuze will consider contributed posts that are educational for video industry colleagues. Please contact me to learn more.

    5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Creating an Original Video Series
    by Frank Besteiro

    Over the past few years, the online video industry has evolved from a wild west of user-generated content and repurposed TV clips to one of the most exciting and buzzed about parts of the web. Major players like Amazon and Netflix have drawn attention by betting big on star-studded series that encourage viewers to indulge in marathon-style viewing. At the same time, media companies with their heritage in print and TV have been turning out innovative and highly produced content that engages their audiences in new ways.

    Though there’s no denying that it is still early days, there’s also sense of urgency in the industry borne of the fact that the ultimate winners in video will be those that get in the game early, experiment and start building a loyal fanbase. It’s for this reason that most online publishers who haven’t gotten into the game yet and are wondering if it’s time to jump onto the original series bandwagon. As someone who spends his days with the biggest names in the industry, I can tell you that this path isn’t for the faint of heart. Even though the potential payoffs are high, building a quality series and cutting through the noise is a major undertaking. Here are 5 questions every publisher should ask themselves before jumping into the fray.

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  • Serves 3.7 Billion Video Ads In September, Topping comScore's Rankings

    With 3.7 billion video ads served, the combined has landed atop comScore's September 2013 U.S. Online Video Rankings. (see chart below) It's the first time that AOL has outranked Google (primarily YouTube), which dropped to second with 3.2 billion video ads served. On its own in August, served over 2.5 billion video ads. was also tops in total ad minutes in September with over 1.6 billion, followed by BrightRoll with nearly 1.3 billion.

    continue reading on VideoNuze iQ

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  • ESPN-AOL Partnership Highlights Power of Video Syndication

    AOL has scored a huge coup with a deal announced today to syndicate ESPN video content across its owned-and-operated sites, plus its distribution network of 1,700 publisher sites. ESPN video in AOL will be accessible on desktops, smartphones, tablets and connected TV devices.

    Importantly, the deal underscores the allure of online video syndication. By choosing to syndicate through AOL, ESPN concluded - despite its already formidable presence as the top-ranked sports property online - that AOL's distribution network could provide still further online reach and monetization potential. That's no small statement, and it is a testament to both AOL's video growth over the past several years and to the strength of the "Syndicated Video Economy" concept I began talking about back in 2008.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #197 - Understanding Programmatic Video Advertising

    I'm pleased to present the 197th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. At Advertising Week this week in NYC, the dominant theme I heard about was programmatic video advertising. Though it's an important and growing part of the larger video advertising space, it's still early days, so even the very definition of "programmatic" doesn't seem to have clear consensus.

    In this week's podcast I explain the 3 main elements of programmatic as I understand them: automating certain buy/sell processes, using data to improve targeting and optimize yield/ROI, and using dynamic pricing models like real-time bidding. Depending on who you talk to, programmatic can refer to one or more of these elements.

    One of the key topics of the week was how programmatic can be used by "premium" video content providers/publishers. In the podcast I also discuss this in-depth. I'm personally continuing to get my head around programmatic, so if I've misstated or mischaracterized anything, let me know and/or leave a comment!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 22 seconds)

    Click here for previous podcasts

    Click here to add the podcast feed to your RSS reader.

    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

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  • AOL Touts Data, Automation in First Programmatic Upfront

    AOL held its first "Programmatic Upfront" tonight, bringing together a packed house of agencies and brands to hear multiple executives and guest speakers pound home a double message that data and automation are poised to revolutionize advertising, just as they have done on Wall Street. From a purely news standpoint, AOL announced 3 specific things:

    1. Clients will be able to buy reserved premium AOL inventory programmatically through the company's AdLearn Open Platform (AOP) beginning January 1, 2014.

    2. Major agencies including Accuen, Amnet, Havas Media, Horizon Media and Magna Global have all made programmatic commitments for 2014 (sizes not disclosed), with DigitasLBi, Razorfish and VivaKi considering.

    3. New features in AOP including real-time bidding through private marketplaces, cross-screen inventory buying with frequency and optimization, and availability of all ad units for programmatic buying.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #191 - A Big Week For Online Video Advertising

    I'm pleased to present the 191st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This was a big week for online video advertising, with 3 key milestones: AOL's acquisition of for $405 million (the biggest of CEO Tim Armstrong's tenure), YuMe's IPO, and Tremor Video reporting solid 2nd quarter results, in its first quarter as a public company.

    As I explained earlier this week, the success of is riding on 3 key market trends, the shift from linear TV style viewing to anywhere/anytime/any device viewing, the democratization of video production and distribution which has led to a plethora of online originals, and the influence of technology in the ad buying/selling process. AOL is seeking to capitalize on all this through's programmatic platform.

    Meanwhile Tremor Video, whose stock has had a bumpy start since the company went public in early July, posted a strong 2nd quarter, with revenue growing by 41% year-over-year. As CEO Bill Day explained on the earnings call, key to this was a focus on premium performance-based in-stream video advertising, which grew from 20% of revenue in Q2 '12 to 34% in Q2 '13. Mobile was also a big contributor to the quarter, rising from 4% of revenue to 13% of revenue. Bill noted the company is highly focused on providing transparency and analytics around traditional brand metrics such as brand lift, engagement, completion rates, etc. to engage buyers.

    More broadly, as Colin observes, online video is giving brands and content providers more flexibility to insert product placements and other deep product integration. I agree, though for the foreseeable future, I see the vast majority of online video ad revenue coming from more traditional pre-, mid- and post-roll advertising.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (18 minutes, 57 seconds)

    Click here for previous podcasts

    Click here to add the podcast feed to your RSS reader.

    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

    (Note: YuMe and Tremor Video's VideoHub are VideoNuze sponsors)

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  • Inside AOL's Acquisition: Making Scale and Personalization Pay

    This morning AOL announced its biggest acquisition to date under CEO Tim Armstrong, buying for $405 million. The deal says volumes about the future of video generally and video advertising in particular. It also underscores the key role that AOL intends to play in helping shape the future.

    To understand the deal, it's important to understand 3 of the most important trends in video today: 1) the shift from linear TV / living room viewing to anytime/anywhere/any device viewing, 2) the democratization of video production and distribution enabled by online delivery and 3) the growing importance of technology/data in the ad buying/selling process. Taken together, these trends portend a future of of massively scaled, yet highly personalized video viewing, monetized through targeted, higher-impact advertising.

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  • Device Fragmentation is Causing Huge Headaches for Content Providers [AD SUMMIT VIDEO]

    These days everyone has their own favorite device on which to consume video. While improved convenience is great for content providers and advertisers, the resulting fragmentation also causes huge headaches developing for multiple devices.

    In a session at the recent Video Ad Summit, executives from Adobe, AOL, Scripps and TheBlaze shared their insights on the challenges and opportunities of surging video consumption across devices, how to generate an ROI and what it all means for advertisers.

    The video is below and runs 22 minutes, 14 seconds.

    Watch the video

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #178 - NewFronts Review

    I'm pleased to present the 178th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This was NewFronts week, when a slew of content providers presented their slate of programs and initiatives to advertisers. Having attended a couple of the presentations, I was impressed by the turnout, energy and interest, especially since this was only the second year for these types of presentations.

    Advertisers have clearly moved online video beyond the experimental stage and are taking a strong interest. Colin and I agree that this is mainly due to viewers' strong adoption of online video viewing. This should only increase as viewers are presented with an exploding array of content choices. We talk more about the role that mobile and apps are playing in all of this too, and why established media needs to be aggressive in this shifting landscape.

    Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (17 minutes, 53 seconds)

    Click here for previous podcasts

    Click here to add the podcast feed to your RSS reader.

    The VideoNuze podcast is also available in iTunes...subscribe today!

  • AOL's Originals Emphasize Authenticity, Differentiate From TV

    Looking past the thumping music and flashing lights that pervaded AOL's NewFront presentation yesterday, the big theme from the company's new slate of original productions was far quieter: it wants to be the online home for authentic programming from thoughtful creators.

    Going this less mainstream route means AOL isn't trying to out-TV TV - like for example Netflix is trying to do with "House of Cards" and its other new shows (how many times have you heard Netflix executives compare their efforts to HBO's?!). Though it is collaborating with some well-known talent such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow and Hank Azaria, AOL's new programs are mainly built around online and offline personalities who have unique perspectives on the world.

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  • Social Recommendations: No Surprises There

    Today I'm pleased to share a contributed post from Alan Wolk. Alan is Global Lead Analyst at KIT digital. He frequently speaks about the television industry in general and second screen interactions in particular, both at conferences and to anyone who'll listen. Recently named as one of the "Top 20 Thinkers In Social TV and Second Screen" Wolk is one of the main architects behind the award-winning KIT Social Program Guide and writes about the television industry at the Toad Stool blog. You can find him on Twitter at @awolk

    If you are interested in contributing to VideoNuze, please contact me!

    Social Recommendations: No Surprises There
    by Alan Wolk

    There’s a firmly held belief in the world of social TV and social media that our social graphs-- the people we are friends with on Facebook and Twitter and other social networks-- are the best source of recommendations for anything from restaurants to movies to TV shows. (Witness this week’s Facebook Graph Search announcement.)

    I’m here to suggest that may not be the case, particularly in regards to television.

    Let’s take Facebook, the most personal of the social networks. While it is considered good form by many on Twitter and LinkedIin to connect with relative strangers, our Facebook friends are generally people we know in real life.

    Or knew.

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  • Proliferation of Online-Only Originals Points to Further Audience Fragmentation

    Audience fragmentation isn't a new concept, but the proliferation of high-quality online-only originals suggests the trend is only going to intensify. These days, a week doesn't go by without another key player announcing a new or renewed online-only series, in turn creating ever-more choices for viewers and advertisers. Combine the surge in originals with the broad adoption of video-enabled connected devices, and the pieces are falling into place for even more changes in viewing behaviors.

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  • Study: Ads in Short-Form Video More Effective Than Those in Long-Form

    Advertisers and content providers continue to grapple with how to optimize ads in online video, and contributing to the dialogue, this morning AOL is releasing research indicating that ads in short-form videos are more effective than ads in long-form. Based on research involving 800 participants, AOL and its research partner Qualvu found that ads in short-form video had a 25% higher brand recall, produced 42% higher purchase intent and were 26% more likely to be liked. Short-form video is defined as less than 10 minutes with long-form 10 minutes or longer.

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  • VideoSchmooze [VIDEO]: Industry Executives Share Insights on Multi-Platform Success

    Below is the full video of last week's VideoSchmooze session, "Cracking the Code on Multiplatform Success," which included Peter Dolchin (VP, Viacom Media Networks), Jason Forbes (EVP, zeebox), Ran Harnevo (SVP, AOL On Network), Chris Smith (VP, Collective), with Olivier Manuel (Principal, Accretive) moderating.

    The group covered a lot of ground, sharing insights on what their companies are doing with multi-platform and how they view multi-platform unfolding. Among the specific topics they discussed included:

    - What is the definition of a "TV" in the online video age?

    - What do marketers want - unified measurement for media buying, or separation by platform? And what do incumbent linear networks and upstart online-only programmers want?

    - What is the difference between "TV Everywhere" and "Video Everywhere?" How are new programmers challenging incumbents to force more audience fragmentation and how is the ad community valuing this programming?

    - Can online-only originals be financing solely on ads or do they need a dual revenue stream with subscriptions, like cable?

    - Does premium content that was produced for the web get TV-style premium CPMs or will it be considered low-cost web content? How important is targeting matter and what other factors matter?

    - Do ad formats need to be different on TV, mobile and online?

    - How can business models align with user behaviors, and who's succeeding in doing this today?

    - What lessons does mobile, with the dominance of iOS and Android, offer to connected TV space? Will a "connected TV operating system" emerge and if so, who will drive that?

    - How does social help the discovery process and combat DVR usage?

    And much more!

    Watch the session video

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  • VideoNuze-TDG Podcast #155 - More on AOL's Video Syndication Success; Data from BBC's Olympics Delivery

    I'm pleased to present the 155th edition of the VideoNuze-TDG podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon, senior analyst at The Diffusion Group, who joins from London. First up this week, we discuss AOL's video success and the larger concept of video syndication. Earlier this week, AOL revealed that its video revenues jumped from $10 million 2 years ago to $100 million in 2012, largely due to syndication. Colin and I dig into why syndication is so compelling and what's ahead.

    Next up, Colin shares insights he gained from a presentation at the OTTTv World Summit in London by Marina Kalkanis, Head of the BBC's Programmes OnDemand Core Services team, which is responsible for the media and metadata services supporting BBC online. Marina's team oversaw BBC's online simulcast and on demand streaming of the London Olympics.

    Colin was impressed by the scale of the BBC's Olympics operation and how video was consumed online and on mobile devices. One key takeaway - BBC found online/mobile complimenting linear TV, similar to NBC's experience in the U.S.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (20 minutes, 11 seconds)

    Click here for previous podcasts

    The VideoNuze-TDG podcast is available in iTunes...subscribe today!

  • Syndication Wins: AOL's Video Revenue Jumps From $10M to $100M in Past 2 Years

    I've been devoting a lot of ink to AOL recently because its success has made it the poster child for the power of online video syndication and monetization. In yesterday's Q3 '12 earnings report, AOL delivered the most resounding evidence yet of syndication's value - CEO Tim Armstrong said AOL's video ad revenue jumped from $10 million 2 years ago to a projected $100 million in 2012, with more growth ahead in 2013. The results are mainly due to video syndication, powered by AOL's acquisition of 5Min in 2010.

    Simply put, AOL is capitalizing on the concept of the "syndicated video economy" that I first began discussing 4 1/2 years ago. On the call, Armstrong described how AOL's large video syndication library (which has grown from 30K videos to 450K today) feeds both its owned and operated properties and its network of 30K publishers. All of these sites are hungry for video for 2 important reasons: they meet users' increasingly video-oriented expectations and their adjacent ad inventory is monetized at far better rates than traditional display.

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