AOL makes deal with Vuguru for original online video content

You wouldn't know this from scrolling through the 500 channels your pay-TV provider so generously provides you--OK, maybe you would--but there's a dearth of top-quality programming available, and it's even worse for over the top and Internet consumers. AOL and Vuguru--ex-Disney and Paramount head honcho Michael Eisner's online studio--are partnering to add a little more to the pile.

AOL today announced it and Vuguru would develop and produce a minimum of six original scripted series for distribution by AOL. Each project will be produced as a continuous story of approximately 90 minutes in length with natural breaks so that they can be segmented for episodic distribution. The shows will be professionally written and produced, giving the once-dominant portal original, quality content for its users.

"Until now, there's been a gap in the online video consumer experience between user-generated video and the high production values of TV and film," said Tim Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of AOL.  "In joining forces with Vuguru and other premier studios and production companies, AOL is uniquely able to bridge that gap by bringing top quality, original video to the millions of users who come to our site each day.  The magical combination of AOL's impressive reach with one of the most visionary content creators will help us become a market leader in this largely untapped space."    

Added Eisner, "The Internet's next growth phase will be powered by professional, high-quality, story-driven content and the key to success is delivering that content to as many users as possible. With AOL's best-in-breed distribution strength, I couldn't have asked for a better partner to help reach that goal."

The deal, said AOL, will have the two companies working together to package and sell the shows to maximize audience engagement and advertiser interest.

This isn't the first deal AOL's made this year to amp up its online video offerings. In September, it acquired Israeli video syndication platform 5min Media which, it says, will allow AOL to expand its offering of contextually relevant video across its sites. The deal was estimated to be in the $50 million to $65 million range.

At Streaming Media West last week, 5min Media CEO Ran Harnevo told FierceOnlineVideo that the 5min acquisition was part of a larger AOL strategy to increase its long-term investment in online video. 

 For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
AOL acquires Internet video company StudioNow
5min Media teams with Answers.com for premium video Q&A site
5min signs video syndication deal with The Style Network, G4

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