The AOL announcement this past week about its deal with Time Warner sister company, Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution, that enables it to offer a free, Web-based VOD service, they will call In2TV. The service will offer over 3,400 hours of archive programs from 100 series of Warner Brothers productions. While the deal is exclusive for one year, AOL executives have stated that they are in negotiations to secure content from other studios as well. In2TV is expected to eventually increase the amount of WB content it offers: It is rumored that they have secured agreement from rights owners to offer up to 14,000 episodes from 300 series on the service.
“This builds on what has been our programming focus
for many years and aligns well with our move to the open Web,” says Kevin
Conroy, AOL Media Networks executive VP. “Our focus is on building a media
business and driving advertising revenue.”
The service will also include interactive features, such as games, quizzes, polls and trivia contests. AOL states that In2TVthe will serve as a "cornerstone" of the AOL.com Web site's commitment to delivering broadband video through AOL Video on Demand and AOL Video Search as well as through AOL Television. AOL Video Search now draws on an archive of over 18,000 licensed and original content assets that is maintained by AOL VOD, as well as on over 1.5 million pieces of video content on the Internet indexed through AOL's Singingfish.
"This service will bring an unprecedented collection
of popular TV series to a totally new platform, revolutionizing the distribution
of television programming," said Eric Frankel, president of WB Domestic Cable
Distribution. "It will enable users the opportunity to be entertained and to
interact with the programming that has groundbreaking interactive features.
Visitors will be able to program their own personal network."
At Launch In2TV’s six original channels will be:
- LOL TV (comedies such as Welcome Back Kotter & Perfect Strangers)
- Dramarama (Falcon Crest, Sisters & Eight Is Enough)
- Toontopia (animated shows like Beetlejuice & Pinky and the Brain)
- Heroes and Horrors (Wonder Woman, Lois & Clark & Babylon 5)
- Rush (action shows such as La Femme Nikita, Kung Fu & The Fugitive)
- Vintage (Growing Pains, F-Troop and Maverick)
In2TV will be supported by advertising: AOL says that it will offer instream broadband advertising and site sponsorships with banner ads. However, the company says that :15 and :30 second spots will take up no more than one to two minutes within each episode and viewers will not be able to fast-forward through commercials. This strategy allows Time Warner to bring more content online faster. That, in turn, means more eyeballs, which in turn drive ad revenues and additional content. AOL now and Google, Yahoo and others soon to follow, it’s easy to see where this is going. Will my children’s offspring ever know the difference between a television and a computer?