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For Branded Video Success, AOL Says Authenticity Is Key: Video

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Troy Dreier: Hi everyone. This is Troy Dreier coming to you from Streaming Media East 2016 where I'm having brief talks with some of the thought leaders of our industry. Joining me now is Noah Fenn, head of video sales and strategy at AOL. AOL is huge in online video and online video sales, so that sounds like a good place to be.

Noah Fenn: Absolutely, yes, it's an exciting time for us.

Troy Dreier: Is your job luring some of those big TV budgets to the online space?

Noah Fenn: It is. It's about luring all the budgets that we can to the space. It's not just about television and bringing those budgets over, but it's really a cross stream and across all screen approach.

Troy Dreier: The companies that have only been TV advertisers, do they welcome the new world of targeting in data available to them?

Noah Fenn: Are you talking about on the buy side?

Troy Dreier: Yes.

Noah Fenn: Absolutely. I think there's definitely the expectation now to get more granular. TV is still a very important medium, TV is absolutely a place that we're making very big investments in. Again, it comes down to the screen and what you're trying to accomplish across those. There is the tendency to hold on to something that feels and kind of has a legacy element to it, but it really it comes down to reaching the audience wherever they are and that's really our message to market.

Troy Dreier: Are you seeing responsiveness to that? They're welcoming that message?

Noah Fenn: Absolutely. We're not pushing it against television, in fact, we're investing in television. We see all of the screens as important but also encourage advertisers to look at each screen and understand the unique benefits and elements that each screen can provide themselves and the KPIs they're trying to reach.

Troy Dreier: AOL, of course, is huge in branded entertainment where the advertiser becomes a partner in creating something that people really want to watch.

Noah Fenn: Exactly.

Troy Dreier: What kind of learning do you provide to make that more successful?

Noah Fenn: Sure. I'd say authenticity is a really big one. It's at the end of the day about what the consumer and the viewer is wanting to watch. When a viewer wants to watch something and it feels natural, it feels endemic and it feels just authentic, that drives the KPIs that advertisers ultimately are hoping to achieve. Viewers have a very good kind of sniff test on content's authenticity, and really what we do is we coach brands, advertisers in the best ways to reach their audience where it really is a win-win for both parties.

Troy Dreier: Do they need to provide separate creative for each platform? Is that the best strategy?

Noah Fenn: It depends. I would say a mobile phone has a more of a now now element to it, so shorter form parts of their assets is a great way to go, whereas a lean back experience in OTT environment could take a longer form assets. In creativity, it depends on the device as well. Is there the ability for interactivity? A phone is something that someone holds in their hand, and we encourage more interactive element, same thing with desktop with the mouse versus OTT which right now there's the ability to do so. Again, someone's holding a remote in their hand and it a little bit of different interactive element and mentality.

Troy Dreier: What do you tell people who are creating something that should be watched on a television? What's better for that kind of environment?

Noah Fenn: I think it's about the mentality of the audience. If it's a standard, kind of pre-role asset, then it's about telling your brand story and really giving your audience the why behind your message. Following up across the other screens to have leave behinds and really take that story one step further, so top of funnel, mid funnel, taking them all the way through lower funnel.

Troy Dreier: It's about getting all the screens working together, providing support of messages?

Noah Fenn: Yes.

Troy Dreier: Excellent. We'll be watching AOL to see what you guys come up with next. This is Troy Dreier coming to you from Streaming Media East.

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