Magazine article ADWEEK

AOL Uses Incentives to Boost Video Biz

Magazine article ADWEEK

AOL Uses Incentives to Boost Video Biz

Article excerpt

AOL entices users to watch its videos by giving away free stuff--not that there's anything wrong with that.

The company's budding syndication arm, AOL On, distributes content to Swagbucks, a rewards site where users earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards and coupons ($1 off Tombstone Pizza, $15 off at the Gap). To collect points, users participate in polls, play games and watch videos. Some of those clips come from AOL brands like Moviefone, PopEater, AOL Music and AOL Healthy Living. Others are by way of AOL License partners Like Reuters (including the clip "Rival Libyan Militias Clash in Tripoli," preceded by an ad for the new Microsoft Surface) as well as and Food Network (snippets from 30 Minute Meals With Rachael Ray).

AOL opened some eyes during its most recent earnings call when it reported that video ad revenue will jump from $10 million to $100 million this year. That growth can be attributed to its growing syndication footprint, born out of the 2010 acquisition of startup 5min Media.

According to 5min founder Ran Harnevo, who is now AOL's svp, video, Swagbucks is a new test partner that represents just 1.5 percent of the company's video volume.

"Incentivized views is something we are still trying to assess," said Harnevo. "It is not a core strategy for us, nor something we deLiberateLy avoid."

Prior to AOL's acquisition, 5min was buiLt on seeding short-form instructional content across the Web. But now Harnevo and his team have developed a premium video syndication powerhouse, distributing content for the likes of CNET, BBC and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to sites from Toshiba. …

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