A new deal between AOL and Miramax will allow users of the AOL On Network to view many of the studio's feature films free of charge.
AOL and Miramax have come to an agreement that will bring critically acclaimed, full-length films to U.S. viewers, culminating in the launch of a new Movies experience that will be featured across the AOL On Network. Spanning a range of genres that will include Miramax iconic cult classics, comedies, and awarded dramas, as well as family and foreign films, this premium, long-form content will now be available to stream free-of-charge across all AOL On experiences including mobile, desktop, and connected devices, all viewed within the Miramax channel.
The Miramax experience on AOL will be ad-sponsored. The mid-roll ad rule in place for the Miramax content is about every 20 minutes, so every 20 minutes into the movie a mid-roll cue point will come up. It is important to note that these cue points will be unique to each video, as AOL is strategically placing them so they do not interrupt a conversation within the movie or an action-filled scene.
Through the upcoming Movies experience, AOL viewers will soon have the option of adding critically acclaimed films to their regular rotation of news and entertainment video. Additionally, Miramax's premium content offering will be refreshed monthly.
In a press release announcing the deal, Ran Harnevo, president of AOL Video, said, "We continue to evolve our content strategy to include all screens and all experiences." He added, "With our Miramax partnership, we have our first foray into film and long-form, bringing a cinematic experience to our premium content library and across our connected TV experiences. Having a premium launch partner in Miramax means that we bring some of the best, award-winning content to the Web in a format that is easily accessible to consumers."
In the same release, Beth Minehart, executive vice president of global digital, Miramax, said, "Creating an ad-supported Miramax-branded channel on the popular AOL On Network is an exciting step as we remain committed to reaching Miramax fans through new and innovative platforms." She added, "We are delighted to partner with AOL on this digital offering, and we look forward to bringing a sampling of our iconic films to the AOL audience through its fast-growing multi-screen distribution network."
AOL is currently a top-three online video property in the United States as ranked by comScore Video Metrix, amassing 1.31 billion content views and serving 3.8 billion online video ads this past March alone.
With the launch of the new, premium Movies experience with the Miramax channel, AOL is providing its expansive audience with highly desired content from a leading, global film and television studio while simultaneously increasing the availability of award-winning films on the Web.
Although AOL was happy to provide additional information about the Movies experience, the company declined the opportunity to talk about the third annual NewFronts marketplace, which begins next week.
With research confirming that 78 percent of buy-side attendees found new opportunities at last year's Digital Content NewFronts event, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), has "super-sized" the schedule for this year's NewFronts, which expands the traditional weeklong event to nine days of presentations between April 28 and May 8. Held in New York City, this series of action-packed programming upfronts from digital video content leaders promises to attract marketers and media buyers to learn about a range of compelling digital video opportunities.
The NewFronts' six founding partners - AOL, DigitasLBi, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft, and Yahoo - will host presentations that spotlight original digital video content, alongside 14 other prominent online companies. Top companies that produce and distribute original digital video programming were invited to participate in the 2014 NewFronts based on a multilayered screening process, which included rankings from comScore and Nielsen and a survey conducted by the IAB among leading ad agency media buyers. Once a short list was determined, the NewFronts Advisory Board provided high-level buy-side recommendations on the potential lineup.
So, digital marketers will just have to wait to find out what AOL and the other participants unveil during the next two weeks. Who knows, this year's NewFronts could be as successful as classic Miramax films like The English Patient, Pulp Fiction, and Shakespeare in Love.
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Greg Jarboe is president of SEO-PR, which provides search engine optimization, public relations, video marketing, and social media marketing services. He's the author of "YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day," a faculty member at Rutgers University and Market Motive, as well as a frequent speaker at SES conferences.
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