It's official: U.S.-based digital company AOL is launching its popular AOL On Network Web portal in the U.K. – a platform that houses AOL's curated and original video offerings. With a host of premium content relationships to boot, the AOL On Network is tapping its international content relationships and has signed major U.K. content partners including Channel 4 and ITN. Distributed through a network of publishers including TechCrunch, Telegraph Media Group and Videojug, U.K. viewers will have access to a library of more than 750,000 videos across 18 different channels, spanning the likes of news, entertainment, food and travel.
What's really sparked interest in the news is the AOL On Network's positive legacy in the U.S. One of the top premium-video-content services in North America, the AOL On Network has achieved more than one billion streams and four billion ad streams to date, and its curated video library is expected to make waves in the U.K. as more British content producers and publishers get on board.
Perhaps more interesting still is that AOL sees its investment in content creation, through its 'AOL Originals' initiative, as a key contributor to its growth. Its original programming in the U.S. has amassed more than 20 million views, and the platform has now overtaken YouTube in terms of volume for production of quality content. It's an investment that speaks to the unwavering consumer appetite for original programming.
With everyone from Netflix and the BBC, to Microsoft and Sony producing original, premium-quality programming for Web-TV services, content remains king. As I highlighted in a previous post, content remains the primary point of capture in today's battle for consumer allegiance, but equally important is the effective monetisation of that content – something which is integral to unlocking the full revenue potential of today's influx of IPTV entertainment.
There's undoubtedly an increasing appetite and demand for online video from advertisers and consumers alike – as highlighted by AOL's head of international Graham Moysey. But consumers have come to expect a TV-like experience with the look and feel of premium content, wherever the location, and whatever the device they use. Likewise, advertisers are looking to reach engaged audiences at scale, but also want to be 'very comfortable with the type of content they're running it from,' according to Moysey.
For many publishers, online video production can be expensive, so access to timely, premium content at scale is key. After all, a high-quality video experience versus a poor-quality, constantly-buffering one can make the difference between gaining a customer and losing one. Thankfully, innovations in cloud computing are cutting the cost and complexity of online video publishing and monetisation.
Behind AOL's own ability to scale its video initiatives is a cloud-based architecture that's enabling the AOL On Network to rapidly deliver high-quality video-on-demand (VOD) content to its fast-growing audience on every platform and device. In the U.S., the AOL On Network is using Brightcove's Zencoder cloud-based encoding service to drive transcoding for its multiple video content channels to achieve time and cost savings throughout the network's transcoding, storage and delivery workflow.
Click here to learn more about how AOL On is working with Brightcove.