As part of the deal, AOL will also sponsor the full broadcast of the premiere of the "Gastineau Girls" on E!, allowing it to run ad-free. The podcasts will be promoted on the E! show, and AOL will promote the podcasts and the broadcast across the AOL network, including the AOL.com home page, the AOL Instant Messenger service, AOL Music, and AOL Radio.
The podcasts will be hosted on AOL's Podcast page, which launched in mid-September with a variety of original content, as well as tools to help users create their own podcasts. The page itself is sponsored and has branding and display ads--currently by Lexus--but no ads will be run within the podcasts themselves.
AOL's Senior Vice President for brand marketing, Richard Taylor, said the company is offering the Gastineau podcasts in response to increasing consumer demand for more original content. "People are saying that there's a lot of stuff out there, but it's just recycled things," he said. "Show me something I just can't see on television--that's why people are using the Internet these days."
Taylor said that AOL hopes that the podcast section on the AOL portal will help the emerging medium gain more acceptance with the general public. "A lot of folks don't know what it is," he said, referring to podcasting. "Here's a chance to say: 'Hey, it's not that tough--here's how you do it.' It just makes it accessible for people."