In The Details: AOL Bolsters 'Project Devil' With Pictela Acquisition


AOL on Thursday announced the acquisition of high-definition brand content platform Pictela. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Our goal is to create the highest-quality ad content for the best user experience and monetization opportunities," said Jeff Levick, AOL's president of global advertising and strategy.

More broadly, Levick said AOL was in the process of reimagining "the intersection of content, advertising and the consumer experience."

Founded in 2009, the Pictela platform delivers videos, photos and applications in real-time across the Web in a range of formats that meet IAB and OPA standards.

Its addition should support AOL's suite of advertising tools, including its new Project Devil display advertising format.

Project Devil -- which AOL expects to roll out across its entire network of sites by next spring -- seeks to improve the aesthetic quality, impact and interactivity of online ads. In a departure from traditional display advertising, the new format offers a large ad space segmented into three panels that can be customized with a range of media streams and applications.



As with Pictela technology, every Project Devil ad is fully interactive, eliminating the need for consumers to navigate away from the page to explore its features.

Early campaign results, according to AOL internal data, show that Devil ads outperform standard online ads, engaging users to interact with brand advertising at much deeper levels.

Pictela will remain a separate group within AOL Advertising, based in New York, and will continue to provide its products and services to outside partners.

Pictela is certified by some of the world's largest publishers and is distributed by AOL, Glam Media and Hearst, among others.

During its short lifespan, sectors where Pictela has experienced strong growth include retail, consumer packaged goods, automotive, entertainment and travel.

Thanks to aggressive cost-cutting and asset sales, AOL last month said third-quarter earnings more than doubled, although ad revenue fell a whopping 27% year-over-year.

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