“We have big investments in the live space with AOL Rise and HuffPost Live, where we’re bringing more of that content online,” DelaCruz said.
Although AOL’s long-form videos will be available on its owned-and-operated channels, the company hopes third-party distribution will serve as a complement to and drive awareness of its flagship properties.
Additionally, AOL is also acting as a distributor for others’ content. For instance, it’s co-producing and distributing video from Players’ Tribune, Yankee alum Derek Jeter’s new media property, which the company hopes will reach a different demographic than the older female-skewing audience of shows like AOL Rise.
As for ad monetization, AOL typically sells inventory for its owned shows (called Originals) directly, but DelaCruz said there will always be exceptions given AOL’s platform and programmatic technology focus.
“Directionally, that’s where we will be headed over the long haul, but there are always ad relationships where you need more touch … from your sales force with your top advertisers, so it’s a balance between high-touch and automation,” DelaCruz said.
Sprint served as exclusive sponsor of the Connected series, which includes pre-rolls and brand mentions onsite, which AOL facilitated directly.