AOL Enlists PointRoll To Develop Rich Media

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AOL signed Gannett-owned PointRoll to beef up the troubled portal’s rich media advertising services. The two-year deal will allow AOL to offer interactive video and audio advertising products and formats to advertisers.

Pennsylvania-based PointRoll is a heavy hitter in the rich media services industry, garnering some 60 percent market share, according to Nielsen’s Ad Relevance. AOL will be leveraging PointRoll’s large sales staff, advertiser and agency relationships, and a rich media team.

The agreement builds on an existing relationship between the two companies, pitting AOL as PointRoll’s preferred portal partner. The earliest offspring of this partnership is NetStream, which is already running ads at AOL.

Financials terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but reports say this is a major financial commitment from AOL. That commitment comes as the company seeks to create the next generation of web advertising through platforms like video banner ads and improved measurement.

While advertisers have questioned the effectiveness of pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads, NetStream’s embedded video player keeps tabs on clicks and plays, with behavioral targeting abilities.

AOL, despite a world of troubles in 2006, has been boosted lately by a smooth and profitable transition from a subscription Internet access model to an ad-supported portal model. When compared to 2005 billings, AOL racked up a 454 percent increase in 2006.

Part of that success is due to a seemingly insatiable public appetite for free, interactive services. The bulk of these online socialites are being dubbed by Avenue A/Razorfish "the Digital Class," between 18 and 24 years old.

"This population lives and breathes the Internet, and seeks differentiation through media, music and online networking," said A/Razorfish’s Jeff Lanctot.

"For marketers seeking to engage with the Digital Class, it’s critical to have a clear understanding of how this group uses the Internet and other digital channels, as well as how they view marketing. The differences are stark."


AOL Enlists PointRoll To Develop Rich Media
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