AOL unveils The Hub

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The Hub, the newest channel on America Online run under a joint venture between New Line Television and AOL, launched Friday on the online service and will begin seeking sponsors in the coming weeks. Advertisers have three major options for sponsorship of the site: banners on the main menu and rotations through the site's eight channels; sponsored content such as branded shows or "activity breaks" at specific times of day; or sponsorship of custom content, which usually includes links to the advertiser's site.

Basic prices are $120,000 per quarter for The Hub's main screen (and rotations through the eight channels); $90,000 per quarter for channel sponsorships; and $60,000 per quarter for content sponsorships, which can include either custom content or activity breaks designed for five ad categories. The "activity breaks" are service-oriented short takes that address exercise, fashion tips, recipe breaks, makeup tips, and bedtime breaks.

New Line Television president Bob Friedman, an MTV alum, said the content on The Hub's eight channels is expected to garner a 60/40 male-female demographic, with average household incomes between $50,000 and $60,000. Because the network is launching with AOL, he expects that there's an extant market of 4 million young adults aged 14-24 tailor-made for The Hub's shows. Much of the programming on The Hub was prenegotiated on what he called an "if/come" basis for extensions into TV, meaning that if the audience volume comes, then New Line and AOL will mount the brands on TV. "Weird Sisters," a gothic novel online, is one of the programs negotiated on this basis.

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