AOL Tuesday unveiled a set of 10 networks called AOL Go it said will “curate” the web for consumers and advertisers with a focus on programming to rival traditional television.
Net also announced a spate of original series including four from Michael Eisner’s Vuguru.
It was the first major news to come out of the Digital Newfronts that started last week, and the first real attempt to challenge the broadcast and cable biz for advertising dollars. Microsoft, which held its event for advertisers earlier in the day, presented its programming as more of an adjunct to TV, not a replacement.
“The Internet needs to be programmed,” said AOL CEO Tim Armstrong at the High Line Park Theatre in Gotham.
The new networks will carry 20,000 hours of original programs produced by AOL over the years, plus many thousands of hours from partners and streamline them into 10 channels by subject, including entertainment, business and fashion.
Since online video took off “we got flooded,” said AOL’s content chief Ran Harnevo, by “cats on surfboards” and “your uncle’s trip to Jamaica….Let’s take the best thing TV gave us – programming – and apply it.”
Vuguru’s programming includes “Little Women Big Cars” in May and “Fetching,” written by Amy Harris, to bow in summer.
Other originals include weekly reality show “Digital Justice,” unscripted series “Next Door Hero,” “Nina Garcia” with the Marie Claire editor, teen lifestyle show “Tiger Beat Entertainment” from Jennifer Lopez and celebrity contest “Ur +1.”
Advertisers want to reach consumers “and they do think networks listen to them,” said Eisner, the former Disney CEO who launched Vuguru four years ago. “We are at the point in time where advertisers can really influence content.”
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