AOL is bringing back four web series for its 2014 originals slate, including Nicole Richie’s “#CandidlyNicole” and “city.ballet.” from exec producer Sarah Jessica Parker.
The company said it renewed ad deals for three of the returning shows with their first-season sponsors: Citi for “city.ballet,” a look at the life of New York City Ballet dancers, and Verizon for tech-themed shows “Hardwired” and “The Future Starts Here.” AOL is still seeking an advertiser for its most popular show, “#CandidlyNicole,” a short-form series reality based on Richie’s Twitter musings. VH1 is picking up a long-form version of “#CandidlyNicole”; on AOL, season two will feature original content separate from the VH1 series.
For now, AOL has declined to renew 11 series from its first run at original programming. But the company still could bring some of those back depending on advertiser interest.
AOL faces heightened competition from other ad-supported digital video platforms, including Hulu, Microsoft — whose Xbox Entertainment Studios has lined up shows from Michael Cera, Seth Green, Sarah Silverman and others to debut this summer — and Yahoo, which is “close to ordering” four TV-length comedies, the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to AOL, the first seasons of the four series combined received more than 75 million views. The Internet media company will pitch advertisers on its programming slate at its Digital Content NewFronts event April 29 in Brooklyn.
Last week AOL announced two new originals for 2014: “Connected,” its first TV-length video series, an adaptation of an Israeli reality show that will be set in New York City; and “Park Bench” with Steve Buscemi’s unscripted conversations with friends and New Yorkers.
“We have seen a strong response from top brands looking to reach consumers they may be missing on TV and wishing to align with quality content that makes sense for their brand(s), making immediate decisions to renew against second seasons of three of our top programs before we could open them up for sale,” Charles Gabriel, AOL’s SVP of global video sales, said in announcing the renewals.