Discovery is turning to AOL in a bid to extend the reach of its new original web video programs and to market its TV shows to new audiences by using short clips.
A new syndication deal between the companies will see AOL distribute video excerpts of two to five minutes from shows such as Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters" and Animal Planet's "River Monsters." AOL will also distribute full episodes of "DNews," a new online video series that Discovery introduced after its acquisition of online-video network Revision3 last spring.
"Discovery is really invested in this original web programming area," said Gabe Sauerhoff, VP-digital media distribution for Discovery. "That's something that is a newer focus for us, but a meaningful priority."
The two companies will share revenue generated from ads placed before the video clips.
One type of programming that Discovery won't let AOL get its hands on? Full episodes of its TV programs. The only partners that can currently show those are paid video services Netflix and Amazon.
AOL will look to embed both the teaser videos for the TV shows and the full episodes of "DNews" into posts and "related-video" modules on its own properties as well as on the publisher sites that are part of its syndication network. In December, AOL put its and its syndication partners' video in front of 42 million people in the U.S., according to ComScore. The rest of the ComScore Top 10 includes well-known players in the video space such as Google, Yahoo, and Vevo, but also lesser-known names such as the video syndication network Grab Media.
For AOL, these kinds of deals are no-brainers. The company adds TV-quality video to its growing library and sells video ads against them at a time in which it seems advertisers have an insatiable desire to advertise through video. Video ads, of course, typically command higher prices than most display ads.