AOL Announces “Connected,” First Foray Into Long-Form Video

Despite the fact that this is April 1, AOL selected today to announce that it has commissioned its first long-form video series, Connected, for inclusion in the AOL On Network, AOL’s premium video platform. Connected, which captures the authentic voices of five individuals as they put their lives on camera, has seen tremendous success in international markets and will now be adapted for U.S. audiences by AOL. The show will debut later this year as part of the slate of new original series unveiled at AOL’s Digital Content NewFronts.

Connected joins a successful slate of 15 original series that launched in 2013 and have collectively amassed nearly 150 million views to date. The show chronicles the lives of five seemingly disconnected New Yorkers as they explore the concept of family in New York City. As five parallel stories unfold and eventually come together in a cohesive storyline, viewers are reminded of the universal bond that family has on individuals and on society as a whole – regardless of social status, income, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Ran Harnevo, president of AOL Video, says, “At AOL, we are committed to producing premium, engaging video content – and as a result, we are very intentional with the show themes and production styles we select. Our original content offerings are constantly evolving and long-form was the natural next step.”

Connected represents AOL’s first acquisition and adaptation of a new storytelling format — one that has already proven to be successful in international markets. Connected currently airs in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Holland, India, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, and Ukraine; has been named Denmark’s “Best Observational Documentary Series” and is one of Israel’s highest-rated cable TV series ever.

Tal Simantov, vice president of Global Video Strategy at AOL, says, “As we expand our original content offerings, and dive into new international markets, it makes sense for us to carry over unique production styles to the United States.Connectedhas seen major success across the globe, and we are confident that the universal themes and focus on real life will speak just as loudly to American audiences as they have abroad.”

Ram Landes, Connected’s creator and the founder of Koda Communications, the Israeli company leading production in the U.S., says, “Connected is an authentic series that we feel perfectly matches the values of AOL Originals and the overall goal of AOL’s video business. We created this series with the intention of converting Internet-style communication into a high-quality show. Presenting Connected online for the American market brings things full-circuit and is very satisfying.”

Connected on AOL On is just one of the original series that will comprise the online video property’s 2014 slate. After the show’s debut at the AOL Digital Content NewFronts later this month, it is expected to premiere in January. Adding to AOL Video’s library of more than 890,000 videos, Connected will be available throughout the entire AOL On Network and across a selection of 1,700 partner sites.

VH1 Orders Nicole Richie’s #CandidlyNicole

In related news, Nicole Richie will bring her unfiltered sense of humor to a new VH1 reality series based on her entertaining tweets. #CandidlyNicole, produced by Telepictures and World of Wonder and based on the successful AOL online series of the same name, is set to premiere on VH1 on Thursday, July 17, 2014, with eight half-hour episodes.

Voted as having one of the “best Twitter feeds” by Time magazine, Richie will take audiences on a fun and intimate ride through her own amusing point of view based on her outlandish reflections on social media (where she has more than 4 million followers). The show will detail her daily adventures and give insight into her decisions on style, relationships, her work life, and her journey to adulthood.

Whether it’s having a discussion with her dad about who his favorite daughter is on Father’s Day, meeting with a doctor about having her tramp stamp removed, or helping her best friend find a date, Nicole has no problem offering her uncensored opinion to everyone she meets (even if they didn’t ask for it). Her one-of-a-kind, tongue-in-cheek commentary inspires people to laugh, learn, and shake their head in wonderment.

Susan Levison, VH1’s executive vice president of Original Programming and Development, says, “Viewers will enjoy her unique point of view and earnest look at pop culture as well as her fearless exploration of anything and everything taboo.”

Recognizing Richie’s affinity for the VH1 brand and establishing a broader and deeper relationship with her, VH1 has agreed to a first look/development deal between the network and Richie’s production company Honey Child Productions. And, no, this isn’t an April Fools’ Day joke, either.

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