The company said it renewed ad deals for three of the returning shows with their first-season sponsors: Citi for “city.ballet,” a look at the life of New York City Ballet dancers, and Verizon for tech-themed shows “Hardwired” and “The Future Starts Here.” AOL is still seeking an advertiser for its most popular show, “#CandidlyNicole,” a short-form series reality based on Richie’s Twitter musings. VH1 is picking up a long-form version of “#CandidlyNicole”; on AOL, season two will feature original content separate from the VH1 series.
For now, AOL has declined to renew 11 series from its first run at original programming. But the company still could bring some of those back depending on advertiser interest.
AOL faces heightened competition from other ad-supported digital video platforms, including Hulu, Microsoft — whose Xbox Entertainment Studios has lined up shows from Michael Cera, Seth Green, Sarah Silverman and others to debut this summer — and Yahoo, which is “close to ordering” four TV-length comedies, the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to AOL, the first seasons of the four series combined received more than 75 million views. The Internet media company will pitch advertisers on its programming slate at its Digital Content NewFronts event April 29 in Brooklyn.
Last week AOL announced two new originals for 2014: “Connected,” its first TV-length video series, an adaptation of an Israeli reality show that will be set in New York City; and “Park Bench” with Steve Buscemi’s unscripted conversations with friends and New Yorkers.
“We have seen a strong response from top brands looking to reach consumers they may be missing on TV and wishing to align with quality content that makes sense for their brand(s), making immediate decisions to renew against second seasons of three of our top programs before we could open them up for sale,” Charles Gabriel, AOL’s SVP of global video sales, said in announcing the renewals.
Here are blurbs on the four renewed shows:
“city.ballet.”: A look at the lives of NYC Ballet company members, both on stage and off. Produced by Pretty Matches Prods. and Zero Point Zero Production.
“Hardwired 2.0”: YouTube star Justine Ezarik (iJustine), after covering wearable tech last season, expands to profile trends ranging from gaming to beauty tech.
“The Future Starts Here”: Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain’s take on living in an increasingly connected world.
“#CandidlyNicole”: Richie, daughter of pop singer Lionel Richie, offers perspective on style, parenting, relationships in scenes from her daily life based on her Twitter feed, which has 4.35 million followers. Produced by Telepictures and World of Wonder, with exec producers Nicole Richie and Michael Baum. Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato and Tom Campbell serve as exec producers for World of Wonder.
The 11 shows AOL has so far declined to renew are:
- “My Ink,” with pro athletes sharing personal stories behind their tattoos;
- “Anthony Eats America” from actor-comedian Anthony Anderson;
- “Now Eat This! Italy with Rocco DiSpirito” travel/food show with the celeb chef;
- “Inspiration Point with Jonathan Adler,” hosted by Adler, a potter, designer and author;
- “The Sartorialist” with fashion photographer Scott Schuman;
- “Fuego Your Life” hosted by Colombian-born Sandra Vergara;
- “Second Chances,” in which Gwyneth Paltrow and Tracy Anderson interview women who have overcome hardships;
- “Fatherhood,” following thesp Hank Azaria’s life as a first-time father;
- “Flat Out,” documentary series following teen NASCAR driver Dylan Kwasniewski;
- “Funded,” about small businesses that have successfully launched crowdfunding campaigns; and
- “Acting Disruptive,” about tech and media startups founded by Hollywood actors.