AOL IN2TV GOES LIVE, INCLUDES FOUR ADVERTISERS

Intel, Kia, Kraft and Hershey Buy Video and Banner Ads

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- AOL In2TV goes live today with its long-awaited classic TV content from corporate sibling Warner Bros., and four marketers have placed run-of-site video ads for the debut.

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Ads from Intel, Kia, Kraft and Hershey’s will appear in the content, which includes 300 episodes from 30 classic shows from the Warner Bros. library available. The shows include sitcoms from the '70s and '80s, such as “Welcome Back, Kotter,” “Alice” and “Growing Pains.”

Keeping up with MSN, Yahoo
AOL is trying to get an edge on competing portals MSN and Yahoo, as well as Google, all of whom are vying to create and monetize the perfect combination of video content and advertising. Since making its portal free last year by moving away from its subscription model, is looking to attract an audience to the retooled, video-rich AOL.com that will air the ad-supported programming. AOL also sealed a deal with Google to cross-market its advertising across the two sites.

By presenting more long-form video than has been available online, AOL wants to create broadband airtime for advertisers who have been starved for video inventory online.

The ads on In2TV occur in the form of banners and video ads. The video placements are in-stream, 15-second messages. Commercial occurrences are limited to 1 to 2 minutes within each 30-minute episode, compared with 8 minutes of advertising on broadcast TV. Ads appear at the beginning and end of each show and at natural breaks, according to AOL.

Will consumers accept it?
AOL runs the risk that consumers won’t accept long-form programming, analysts have observed. Many consumers view video snippets during breaks at work and generally don’t have a half hour to spare.

The entire inventory of programming includes 14,000 episodes that have been cleared to roll out over the year. Consumers can choose clips or full-length episodes from genres including comedy, drama, action, classic and sci-fi. To keep users glued to the site and watching more ads, a number of interactive features are available, such as message boards, contests, voting games, trivia quizzes and TV karaoke. Ads will be integrated into these interactive elements as well.

”We are looking for ways to repurpose TV ads in a new environment with virtually no clutter and with much more contextual integration and companion integrated into programming,” said Michael Barrett, exec VP, AOL Media Networks.

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