According to Comscore, AOL is the fourth most-trafficked online property with over 107,477,000 unique monthly visitors. In the advertising category, AOL’s ad network generates more than 184,160,000 monthly uniques, putting it in sixth place between Yahoo and YuMe. From a company that was pronounced dead by media pundits only two years ago, that’s some massive reach. David Eun, the new president of AOL’s media and studios division, wants to put that reach to work.
Last month Eun told Michael Learmonth his plans to package all of AOL’s properties into 17 advertiser-friendly verticals dubbed “super-networks,” and become “the world’s largest producer of high-quality content, period.” Eun plans to accomplish the latter by hiring a helluva lot of content creators. “We are going to be the largest net hirer of journalists in the world next year,” he said.
So, what does that mean for AOL web series? Expect to see some.
Aside from its music-oriented online programs (AOL Sessions and The Interface, both filmed in the company’s own studios), AOL has so far been conspicuously absent from the web series space. One of its main competitors, however, is killing it.
Similar to AOL, Yahoo is on a mission to leverage its massive audience and expand its original content production across a number of ad- and consumer-friendly verticals. In relation to original online video, that expansion translates to a production deal with Ben Stiller, over a half-dozen web series released in the past 18 months, a partnership with the world’s largest advertiser, and a few billion views.
It’d be naive to think AOL hasn’t noticed Yahoo’s web series success and doesn’t want it on the action. Plus, there’s some evidence. This week, Stick Figure Productions put out a casting call to Tri-State area moms for “a new web series for AOL that features everyday moms putting their best dish up against New York’s master chefs and letting their family decide whose is best.”
This casting call is the first of many. Eun’s only been at the job six months. Within six more I’d expect to see formal, mass media announcements of AOL’s entrance into the web series game.