This week, AOL announced on its blog that it’s large library of original content will become available on YouTube, spreading across 22 channels. It’s a bold move that seeks to gain a larger viewer base while simultaneously providing a boon for Google, one of AOL’s competitors in the online video industry.
In the most recent comScore Online Video Rankings, released in September, AOL had dropped to sixth place in total unique viewers, behind Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, VEVO, and Facebook. The company is doing well in user engagement, ranking a distant second behind Google with 73 minutes of user engagement. Therefore, the problem was clear: how can AOL increase its traffic and draw in more viewers who will be highly engaged by the site’s content? Adding all of the network’s shows to YouTube, far and away the largest hub of video viewers on the Internet, seems as good a way as any for AOL to enrich its base.
The move makes good business sense for YouTube as well. In my piece on the latest comScore rankings, I wondered if some tiny cracks were forming in YouTube’s mighty armor, given that Google began focusing on engagement and still had user engagement go down from last month. Adding AOL’s content will let the rich get richer, with YouTube gaining some access to another source of views and user engagement.
Over 700,000,000 videos call AOL their home, but the main focus of the move is content affiliated with AOL On, the company’s original programming hub (launched last April). This network includes videos from Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Moviefone alongside AOL’s specific channels for relationships, style, and home (among others); many original shows, such as HuffPo’s Beyond the Battlefield and the Vuguru-produced Little Women, Big Cars, are spread across these channels.
AOL will essentially act as a YouTube Partner (similar to VEVO), but their clear intention is to drive more traffic to Aol On. As for Google, this move allows them to use their current clout to expand their library even further, continuing to be what I can only describe as a gigantic, online video Katamari.