AOL

AOL On to stream Miramax films for free

April 23, 2014

AOL has forged a deal with Miramax to deliver the studio’s films free of charge to U.S. viewers as part of a new movies experience on its premium on-demand video network AOL On, it was announced Wednesday.

The films will stream on an ad-supported Miramax-branded channel, launching April 30, that will be available on all AOL On platforms including mobile, desktop and connected devices.

Miramax’s deal with AOL is non-exclusive.

Founded by brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein in 1979 and named after their parents Miriam and Max, Miramax Films has a library of more than 700 titles rich with Oscar-winners, including Pulp FictionChicago, and Good Will Hunting, as well as commercial hits such as Bridget Jones’s Diary and the Scream franchises. The company was sold to Disney for $60 million in 1993. The Weinstein brothers left to form The Weinstein Company in 2005.

AOL On’s Miramax channel will not directly mirror the edgy, adult slant of its library.

“At launch, we will release a PG-heavy slate,” says Ran Harnevo, president of AOL Video. “How we will segment moving forward will depend on assessing the user experience. We’re looking at the right mix of rated movies based on feedback from users and where they consume what content (OTT vs. digital). Users will be notified of edgier content.”

Ads will appear in the movies approximately every 20 minutes.

“We strategically are placing cue points so it does not interrupt a conversation within the movie or a certain action,” Harnevo points out.

AOL has been evolving its video strategy recently, launching its first long-form reality series, making a big push into international markets and launching a programmatic advertising platform for brands, agencies and publishers called One by AOL.

In November 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google was negotiating with Disney to purchase Miramax for $660 million with the intent of using its catalog of films as the basis for free and ad-supported streaming channels on YouTube that would compete with Netflix and Hulu. The WSJ said the deal would be completed “in a few weeks,” but it never materialized. The following month, Miramax was sold for $663 million to Filmyard Holdings, a joint venture of Colony Capital, Tutor-Saliba Corporation and Qatar Investment Authority.

Also on Wednesday, AOL On announced an exclusive U.K. partnership with Emirates to feature pre-roll video ads starring soccer legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé promoting the airline’s first class and business class services onboard their Airbus A380 flights.

Image via AOL On blog

Catch Ran Harnevo, President of AOL Video, at the upcoming Stream Market in Santa Monica, CA June 2-3.