For AOL.com, it’s all about video.
The company launched a major redesign Tuesday that not only puts video on just about every item it posts, but makes it easier to navigate to them.
It’s also promoting the Web’s latest hot item: live video streams.
“Video is the differentiator,” AOL.com President Maureen Sullivan said in an interview, noting views of videos have nearly doubled over about the last year.
The redesign covers all platforms. But while smartphone and tablet visitors represent only 38% of AOL.com’s traffic, the company calls its video approach “mobile first.” The videos come from Huffington Post, Time, HGTV and other media outlets.
While hoping to keep an edge on longtime competitor Yahoo, the redesign clearly was influenced by hot new online media companies like Buzzfeed. AOL.com shows each visitor both content that editors think they should see and that computer programs guess they want to see based on individual tastes. It’s this sorting and sifting applied to videos that Sullivan thinks will help AOL stand out.
“All of us feel this hand curation and programming does matter and it will matter to all ages for years to come," Sullivan said.
Last month, Verizon Communications agreed to buy AOL for about $4.4 billion, attracted by AOL’s expertise in video and advertising.
AOL Inc., an Internet company built in a different era, has endured a crusty reputation, but the video strategy, along with more social media targeting, is lowering the average age of visitors, which fell from nearly 50 years old to 48 over the last year. Visits from social media links are up 500% over the last year, Sullivan said.
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