Celebs such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Richie and Portia De Rossi attended AOL’s NewFronts party at the Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn Tuesday evening, where the digital network announced its new programming slate and gave insight into its video evolution.
Most guests were transported to the event via water taxis, with rain and wind adding to the anticipation of AOL’s presentation.
“This story is not about winners or losers — it’s about sight, and sound and motion,” said Ran Harnevo, president of AOL video, as he described how far the digital platform has come since 400 people showed up to its first NewFronts party 2 years ago (held in an event space that could fit about 225).
AOL announced 10 new shows rounding out its 2014 slate of 16 original series (four returning, two previously announced) for its premium video platform the AOL On Network. It was later revealed that marketing agency DigitasLBi has already purchased exclusive advertising rights to two of the series.
Spanning topics from family and comedy to business and technology, the new shows feature big names both in front of and behind the camera, including James Franco, Kevin Nealon, Katie Holmes, Zoe Saldana (pictured left), Ron Howard and Ellen DeGeneres.
The 10 shows join two previously announced new projects: Park Bench, starring Steve Buscemi, who was also at the event, and AOL’s first long-form half-hour original series, Connected, as well as four returning shows – #CandidlyNicole, Hardwired 2.0, city.ballet. and The Future Starts Here – which have amassed a combined 75 million views since debuting at last year’s NewFronts.
Sprint will be the exclusive, premiere sponsor of Connected, as per the DigitasLBi deal. The other show, Saldana’s My Hero, will be sponsored by one of the agency’s clients, though the partner was not announced.
The newly-announced shows are as follows:
AOL also announced that it has signed on to participate in a beta program from Nielsen that’s designed to provide a TV-comparable audience measurement across all of AOL’s new series.
The Nielsen beta will deliver GRPs (gross ratings points) that reflect the audience reach by age and gender for AOL’s new programming as an extension of Nielsen Digital Program Ratings, which currently measures TV-originated content viewed online. In addition to measuring content, AOL will be tagging associated advertising using Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings.
With files from Todd Longwell