AOL just seems to love the talkies lately. Its been on a content maker binge lately and talk shows are right up their alley. There’s AOL Daybreak from Electus with former Wallstrip host Lindsey Campbell, and the all-cameo send up of their iconic mailbox alert, You’ve Got, which has been on fire since its launch in November with nearly 8 million views in its first month alone, according to AOL.
Today the network announced it is launching AOL Late Night, an evening video block featuring three already popular podcasts of comedians Adam Carolla, Kevin Pollak and Kevin Smith. The new block will debut tonight at 10 PM (ET) with segments from The Adam Carolla Show, Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show, and Kevin Smith’s SModcast Network. Also on the lineup are weekly best-ofs from Carcast with Adam Carolla, This Week With Larry Miller, Spider and the Henchman with NBA champion John Salley and writer Kevin Hench and Daves of Thunder with Dave Dameshek and Dave Feeney.
Kevin Pollak’s Streamy-winning Chat Show has been steadily growing its audience as part of the upstart This Week In network, but the deal with AOL will no doubt give it a broader reach with the network’s sizable daily audience. It will be a daily show, with original material four nights a week followed by highlights on Fridays.
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“The Chat Show finally broke a million views in December (1,264,700) ‘all by itself,'” Pollak told us, “so some have asked why partner with AOL and the answer, I’m afraid, is quite simple: 15 million views a day, on average.”
Pollak added that he is “uber proud to be put into heavy rotation with Kevin Smith’s Smodcast and The Adam Carolla Show.” While we had a few minutes of his time, we let Pollak elaborate on the deal and even bugged him on whether or not we’ll see more of his scripted web comedy Vamped Out:
Pollak: Without question, to me, this partnership between AOL and the podcast Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show is the next logical step in the process of bringing orginal content online to a larger, so-called ‘mainstream audience.’ Yes, AOL is online, but to a MASSIVE number of people, it is their morning, afternoon and evening news source and we’ve just never had a chance to potentially connect with that gianormous number of viewers, five nights a week. I mean, I’ve only got 185,000 followers on Twitter (@kevinpollak) as a way to get the word out. As for a new business model taking shape, as always, there are no rules, guidelines and/or best examples on how to monetize. We are all limited only by our imaginations. We have taken on sponsors occasioinally through out our near 2 year run, but have yet to find that one big partner I was hoping for. Also, remember that the Chat Show is part of a larger network I founded with my favorite internet mini-mogul-jerk, Jason Calacanis (Mahalo.com, @jason), called ThisWeekIn.com, which grew to over 20 shows in one year, and booked upwards of three quarters of a million dollars in sponsorhip revenue for the company.
Additionally, I’ve been working for the past 6 months with the podcast section of iTunes on a precedent-setting new infrastructure, by which the most popular podcasts can charge a small fee from your iTunes account, instead of asking the audience to leave the site and link to the show’s site and sign up for a whole new subscription. In the coming days, in fact, you’ll see us roll out a new super small fee per full (over 2 hours, in most cases) version of the Chat Show on iTunes. For years now, music lovers have paid $9.99 or more for an album that’s usually an hour or less in length. This experiment of ours dares to declare that the time has come for the audience to pay 99 cents, or $1.99, for over 2 hours of entertainment in the form of a podcast. Steve Jobs and Apple didn’t change the way we get our favorite music and support our favorite artists by giving the content away for free, so why should those of us who work every day to provide a live weekly show not have the same relationship with our audience?
Tubefilter: Your talk show is getting all the buzz lately, but what about your more scripted web projects—will we see more Vamped Out this year?
Pollak: We, (co-creator/co-writer Jason Antoon) will be shooting a second season soon with a fall release in mind. We’re in talks with AOL, in fact, about re-releasing the first season on thier home page in the summer and then premiering the new season, Vamped Out 2.0, on their home page in the fall.
Photo credit: The Bui Brothers