AOL Heads Into NewFronts With 'Connected,' Its First Long-Form Video Series

Leading into the NewFronts, AOL hopes to wow advertisers with its first long-form video series, Connected. For the effort, AOL has hired Israeli-based production firm Koda Communications to bring the franchise to New York. 

Already established in a number of international markets from Ireland to India, Connected captures the lives of seemingly disconnected people, and the gradual crossing of their unique paths. “We call it docudrama; not reality television,” Tal Simantov, vice president of global video strategy at AOL, said on Monday.

Currently being cast, Simantov said the five people featured in the series could be familiar to U.S. audiences. “They won’t be A-list stars, but we are looking for great storytellers like scriptwriters and actors,” he said. Set in New York City, the first U.S. version of Connected will consist of 20 episodes, each of which should run about 20 minutes, and be accompanied by pre-roll and mid-roll video ads.   

Expected to debut later this year, Connected is part of the AOL On Network’s new slate of programming, which will be unveiled during AOL’s Digital Content NewFronts on April 29.

Simantov said the new series will not be sold directly to buyers, but as part of AOL On’s entertainment channel. Connected  joins fifteen original series that launched in 2013, which are responsible for nearly 150 million views to date, by AOL’s estimate.

AOL’s distribution ambitions are bigger than the Web, as was illustrated by its recent partnership with set-top-box startup Roku. Connected currently airs in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Holland, India, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Romania and Ukraine.

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