The upcoming HuffPost Live streaming network will help the AOL firm generate lots of video ad inventory, but don't expect in-stream video ads during live programming. The continuous live digital video initiative, set to launch August 13, appears to be chugging along as expected. Verizon and Cadillac XTS are already attached to the project.
When the AOL media brand announced it in February, the adventurous effort was touted as a live action version of HuffPost. Expect lots of opportunities for brands to integrate with the community-driven content. Correspondents will chat live with readers and viewers, breaking news will travel across a scroll linking to article pages or video, and editors and producers will crowd source headlines as stories develop.
HuffPost said in February the streaming network would generate thousands of video clips in the first year of operation. Those videos will be added to AOL's pool of pre-roll ad inventory, which could help bring in more brand dollars. Live programming, however, will not be broken up by video advertising, according to Janet Balis, publisher of The Huffington Post. Instead, in-stream ads will only be sold into that programming as it exists in archive form, chopped into digestible clips and syndicated on HuffPost and other AOL properties.
"We don't want to be constrained by the traditional notion of broadcast production and programming," said Balis. "We believe [TV ad-like video spots breaking up live content] are not a format that's endemic to the Internet." Brand partners, however, will be featured in an initial bumper that will appear when users initiate a viewing session on the streaming site, she said.
At launch, HuffPost Live will offer 12 hours of live-streamed content five days a week, shot from New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
Right now, HuffPost is soliciting participation and video content from users. The idea is to have topics bubbling up in HuffPost articles be discussed among site users in a live video format, via web cam. As those conversations take place, HuffPost producers can be expected to integrate brand messaging in various formats on the fly, choosing from a ready-made pool of creative. According to Balis, brands will also have a share of voice via display advertising and over-the-top TV platforms.
Deals with sponsors are "all constructed as long-term partnerships" that will last from launch through the end of the year, said Balis. "We're in active conversations with other partners."
HuffPost also plans to partner with a "major gaming platform" and enable mobile access in the future.
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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.
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