AOL Taps Balthazar As Head Of Programming

by , Dec 4, 2013, 6:08 PM
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It will be hard to top Yahoo’s courting of Katie Couric or Netflix’s mantel full of Emmys, but AOL remains set on securing its place as a leader in content programming.  

To that end, AOL.com is bringing on Brian Balthazar as executive producer and head of programming, the company said late Wednesday. Balthazar comes from HGTV where he was director of original programming and development, and oversaw such shows as "House Hunter" and "Selling New York/Selling LA." Balthazar will report to Maureen Sullivan, who made the announcement in a blog post on Wednesday.

As part of AOL’s broader programming efforts, Sullivan -- a longtime marketing executive at the company -- was recently given free rein over the AOL.com homepage. Regarding Balthazar, Sullivan said in her blog post: “He will play a leading role in the future of AOL.com.”

For the second month in a row, AOL held its position over Google as the Web’s top video ad property, in October. The company that Tim Armstrong revived recorded a staggering 4 billion video ad impressions in October, according to recent figures from comScore.

Leading all properties, AOL also delivered the highest duration of video ads at 1.8 billion minutes through October. (Industrywide, the time that consumers spent watching video ads totaled 9.2 billion minutes.)

According to comScore, AOL surpassed Google as the Web’s top video ad property for the first time in September. In large part, analysts attributed the coup to AOL’s decision to buy Adap.tv earlier this year for $405 million. (comScore’s September figures marked the first time that AOL and the video ad platform were counted as one unit.)

Viewership remains another story. Thanks to YouTube, Google sites continued to dominate the field with 164.8 million unique viewers in October. Facebook ranked a respectable second place with 70.1 million viewers, followed by AOL with 62.3 million unique viewers.

Prior to HGTV, Brian did stints at NBC and the Today Show, where he is credited with launching the fourth hour of “Today” with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

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