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AOL looks to co-creation

News, 30 April 2015

NEW YORK: AOL and NBCUniversal have announced a content sharing arrangement that will facilitate advertising across screens and open up opportunities for co-creation.

"What our partnership is going to do is bring an audience offering to advertisers in ways they haven't seen before," explained AOL president Bob Lord. "We will be able to help with co-content production as well as distribution to get to audiences in new and unique ways," he told Beet.tv.

"Audiences don't really distinguish whether they're on linear or on digital any more," he added.

The agreement is effectively in two parts, the first based on the sharing of each other's content, while the second involves better targeting of advertising.

Lord outlined how AOL would use its technology "to target the content and then specific advertising around that content".

"We know we can track people across devices and watch their behaviour, so we can actually use that content to understand more of their behaviour and then target ads that are appropriate to that content consumption," he said.

AOL itself is stepping up its own content creation, as Jim Norton, global head of media sales, told Ad Exchanger.

"Last year we produced 80 pieces of original video content, and this year we intend to produce upward of 3,600 pieces," he said. "We're moving from producing and selling a season or a slate of programs into a mode of constantly producing original, premium content year-round."

AOL will also get access to a huge library of NBC Universal material, with clips from entertainment and news programming being streamed on AOL itself and 16 OTT platforms where the AOL On app is available.

"We think the appetite for consumer experiences will continue to shift toward OTT," said Linda Yaccarino, chairwoman of ad sales and client partnerships for NBCUniversal.

Moving beyond the use of existing content – using AOL Originals, for example, to satisfy audiences that NBCUniversal was going after – Lord suggested that the two sides were very interested in co-creation opportunities.

"How can we partner to co-create new content that's not there for their audiences that ultimately advertisers want to get to[?]" he added.

Data sourced from Beet.tv, Ad Exchanger, Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff