DCNF: AOL Sells to Two Shows from Its 2014 Slate to DigitasLBi

/ Apr 29, 2014

AOL On

One of the biggest complaints about the Digital Content Newfronts is that no one hears about the programming previewed during the presentations after the events are over. How did the shows perform? Was there any interest from the advertising community? Did any of the presenters secure any deals?

AOL, which held its third Newfront event (in Brooklyn, for the first time) tonight, has made an effort in the past year to break free from that mold.

The company held an event last summer to discuss the success of their 2013 programming slate, specifically the Nicole Richie-starring “Candidly Nicole.”

Tonight, AOL announced that it’s already secured upfront commitments from DigitasLBi (to be fair, another Newfronts presenter) on two original series from its 2014 slate.

Per the deal, DigitasLBi has bought exclusive advertising rights to two of the 16 shows screened by AOL: “Connected,” the company’s first long-form original series, and “My Hero,” a series executive produced by and starring actress Zoe Saldana. Sprint is on board to sponsor “Connected,” which focuses on a group of New Yorkers who record their daily lives. “My Hero” will feature celebrities playing a surprise tribute to one person who has changed their lives.

This is not the first time AOL and DigitasLBi have come together. Last year, an agency group led by Razorfish, DigitasLBI’s sister company under the Publicis Groupe umbrella, purchased the AOL On Business channel, including two originals, “Acting Disruptive” and “Funded.”

“One of the most frequently discussed topics around the NewFronts every year is the idea that video inventory is not scarce, and this is true if advertisers don’t care about content and quality storytelling,” said Charles Gabriel, SVP of global video sales at AOL, ina statement. “But premium video content is scarce, and in partnering with DigitasLBi, we are securing an upfront commitment from a returning partner who believes in the power and reach of our original programming and the importance of quality content.”

“The ‘Connected’ sponsorship is especially meaningful for Sprint as the show’s theme — which reminds viewers of the universal bond of families — is a natural fit for the company’s ‘Joy of Connecting’ brand platform,” said Colleen Whitney, SVP media director/national video lead at DigitasLBi. “The docu-drama format of the series, in which five New Yorkers will film their own lives for six months, embodies the real-life portrayal of the modern framily.” (The term given to connected families in Sprint’s latest ad campaign.)

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