Jan 13, 2017

AOL dives (back) into live video

It'll have a standalone live video app, and will livestream video on other AOL sites, like The Huffington Post, as well as other live platforms, like Facebook Live, Live Instagram stories and Twitter Live.

Taking on TV: The livestreams will mostly be interviews with A-List celebrities, like Ryan Gosling and John Legend. It will total more than 75 events-per-month and four hours of live programming each day, according to AOL.

That's on par with broadcast networks, like ABC and NBC, which air several hours of live talk programming per day through shows like The View, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The format will also mimic live television talk-show programming, with live audiences.

Our take: AOL has had the necessary infrastructure to monetize live video—distribution, scale, technology—but they haven't been able to crack the code. AOL-owned Huffington Post had a livestreaming digital channel, Huffington Post Live, but they shut it down last year to shift their video strategy to include more shareable online video content.

Now is the time: A new eMarketer study says the number of digital video viewers globally will grow 8.2% in 2017, reaching about 30% of the world's population. Other major digital platforms have been investing in live video technology for months, hoping to reap the advertising dollars from the high engagement rates live video spurs:

  • Facebook is in the middle of a huge, national Facebook Live marketing campaign to expand their user base from brands to everyday consumers.
  • Instagram debuted a live feature to their stories platform in November.

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