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August 24, 2006

AOL Video Adds Significant New Content to Service

AOL Video is continuing to bolster its distribution efforts, as the company becomes increasingly competitive with other major digital video distributors. With Amazon's video service set to debut before the end of the month, FOX entering the competition, MSN Video offering interesting content, Google Video gaining some steam with its deal with MTV Networks, iTunes' continued powerful reach, and network-specific distribution channels--like CBS' innertube and TNT DramaVision, the market is becoming crowded.

It's like the European imperialist race to establish the "New World," as each distribution company is looking to corner as much of the market as possible. We've written previously about AOL IN2TV's launch of a significant amount of Hispanic content, as well as the new PGP Classic Soaps Channel on AOL Video. Now, a deal has been struck with several major content providers for AOL, including Warner Brothers Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures, and 20th Century FOX.

The deal includes old situaton comedies and dramas that will be distributed free with commercials embedded, as well as programs to be downloaded-for-pay, such as FOX action series Prison Break and 24.

The move makes AOL an increasingly viable competitor, as they are experimenting with simultaneous ad-supported and pay-per-download services. As AOL eases more and more from its service provider role into this content provider role, its video platform could be a vital piece in the company's sustained brand identity over the next decade, and they continue to strike major deals to gain sigificant content for the site's video distribution.

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