A live streaming Huffington Post video network could mean lots more video ad inventory for parent AOL and potentially for its Advertising.com network. In keeping with the HuffPost approach to ad selling, The Huffington Post Streaming Network is expected to offer a range of brand integration offerings, and hopes to bring on a small set of founding brand partners at launch.
The video network - set to launch this summer - will look like a live action version of what HuffPost readers have come to know. Site reporters will be correspondents, delivering breaking news and even crowdsourcing headline ideas as stories develop. The company promised to deliver thousands of clips in the first year of operation, all of which will become available in on-demand archives ripe for pre-roll video ads. A "Defend Your Comment" feature - which may change by launch time - will allow readers to join in via Skype to elaborate on comments they posted, and battle it out with those who disagree. A cable news style scroll will scurry across the bottom of the screen, with clickable headlines.
HuffPost shopped the video network to brand advertisers at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. "We're looking for five or six really strong partners to be our founding sponsors," said HuffPost Editor Roy Sekoff (above, left, beside HuffPost founder Arianna Huffington). The company did not mention any specific offerings for brand integration, but Sekoff said products such as a top tweet placement or a TV-like bug graphic are possible.
"A new form of experience calls for a new model from an advertising standpoint, so we're looking for really organic integrations that bring out the brand attributes within that live experience," said Janet Balis, SVP and head of sales strategy, marketing and partnerships at AOL.
The company unveiled its plans this afternoon at AOL headquarters in lower Manhattan in the room that will serve as a studio for the network. A demo video brought the plan to life, but execs stressed it was only intended to give an indication of the final product. The network will be available via mobile and tablet devices, as well as streaming TV platforms like Roku, Boxee, and Playstation.
The initiative will have the HuffPost content beast feeding on itself and replicating. Site content will become fodder for streaming network content, even as network clips filter back into the sites. Sekoff, who said he aims for 30,000 clips to be produced for the network by the end of the year, suggested some might be derived from live streaming content. For instance, a snippet of a live update on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill might make its way into the HuffPost Green section.
According to Sekoff, the network will be live 12 hours a day, five days a week, repeating content overnight. Additional live hours will come in 2013. The network will stream live for eight hours each day from the New York studio, four hours live from Los Angeles, and also will incorporate coverage out of its Washington, D.C. satellite bureau.
AOL and HuffPost appear to be investing substantially in the network. The division, considered an extension of HuffPost, will include 100 staff.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
March 19, 2014