AOL Debuts ‘My Ink,’ Will Plug Relevant ESPN Content Next to It

/ Oct 31, 2013


AOL continues to roll out its original programming slate, which was first unveiled in its entirety during the company’s Newfront presentation in April. The latest series to premiere, “My Ink,” is a documentary show that puts the lens on some of the most popular athletes in the country as they share the stories behind their tattoos.

Over the course of 12 total episodes, “My Ink” will feature pros like the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice and New York Knicks’ shooting guard J.R. Smith, and follow them as they visit their favorite tattoo artist, select their next tattoo, and get inked up. Rice and Smith’s episodes are among the first six, all of which are immediately available on AOL On and AOL did not disclose when the remaining six episodes would be made available.

This is the second sports-based original series from AOL this year, following the launch of “Flat Out” in September. That show, also a documentary series, is produced by NASCAR Productions and Vuguru, and follows 18-year-old racing phenom Dylan Kwasniewski. Since releasing it all-at-once in mid-September, “Flat Out” has amassed over 1 million views across AOL’s video network.

Interestingly, and I don’t know if this is part of some new AOL strategy, but both “My Ink” and “Flat Out” are available via their own custom URLs, and, respectively. These simply direct to the show pages on AOL On, but as we’ve seen with some YouTube-based businesses, it’s a good (and necessary) way to break through the clutter of online video and drive viewers to your original programs.

Here’s another thing that might boost the profile for both shows: AOL recently announced a deal with ESPN to syndicate the sports broadcaster’s TV clips across AOL’s video distribution network, which includes the company’s owned-and-operated and partner sites. AOL says it plans to feed relevant ESPN videos — those associated in some way with “My Ink” and “Flat Out” and its talent — to those shows’ webpages.

“My Ink” is produced by Mandalay Sports Media with the studio’s co-chairman, Mike Tollin, serving as executive producer.

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