AOL Announces Partnership with VivaKi to Help Accelerate Online Video Ad Spend

Unique Collaboration Leverages VivaKi Research Initiative The Pool; Builds on ASq Success to Find Additional Video Ad Models to Support the Marketplace

NEW YORK – AOL announced today that it has brokered a unique partnership with VivaKi, the strategic entity that combines the media and digital assets that sit inside of Publicis Groupe. This partnership aims to explore the online video advertising arena and continue to innovate and identify top performing ad models that are best for advertisers, publishers and consumers. This initiative will leverage the success and momentum of VivaKi’s ongoing research effort, The Pool, which has conducted extensive research and testing in the online video space. In its first three waves of research or “lanes,” the ASq was selected as the most superior online video ad model, out-performing the industry’s pre-roll standard.

To date, ASq has 15 certified publishers, including AOL, and has supported over 150 client campaigns across 35 advertisers and garnered more than 400 million impressions. This partnership between VivaKi and AOL will build on the success of this model and identify other formats that provide more personalization and social components within the online video user experience. ASq is powered by VINDICO, a leading video ad management platform, which will also serve the VivaKi-AOL partnership.

“We are excited to be partnering with VivaKi to push product innovation forward and evolve online video ad models,” said Tim Armstrong, Chairman & CEO, AOL. “We challenged the industry last year with the launch of Project Devil in display, which helped us rethink how content and advertising should be viewed on the Web, and we wanted to explore what the Devil principles and philosophies could mean for video ad formats. There is still so much opportunity for growth and innovation.”

“We know the ASq is a breakthrough idea, but there is room for more ad models that support the medium. No other platform can be sustained through simply one format, look at TV or display,” said Tracey Scheppach, VivaKi’s EVP/Innovations Director and Co-Founder of The Pool. “We gave our employees around the world, as well as our trusted partners, an opportunity to voice their ideas for the best online video ad models and we received 72 ideas in total, which we’ve narrowed down to the top three that will go into testing.”

The first model that will go into field trial testing consists of a pre-roll overlay within a video player that gives the viewer an option to click and expand the ad into a branded toolbar, which provides viewers with multiple ways to interact with the brand. The second model is a slate ad format that asks whether the viewer would like to watch a full :30 ad or a :15 ad and then answer a question immediately following the ad. The third and final model is a pre-roll overlay that provides buttons for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social platforms to enable a seamless way to interact and share ads with their social circle. To reinforce the sharing option, this model would also include a billboard at the end of the pre-roll or at the end of the content. VINDICO will handle ad serving for all three models during this process.

Since its inception in 2008, The Pool has launched nine lanes globally and logged over 35,000 hours, working with over 100 different companies while reaching 262 million consumers.

This lane will kick off in November 2011 and is open to all VivaKi clients. Results are expected in early 2012 and official names will be given to the three models during The Pool process.

About AOL

AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is a premier global media company with a suite of brands and products serving consumers, advertisers and publishers worldwide. The AOL Huffington Post Media Group is a leading source of news, opinion, entertainment, community and digital information comprising a wide range of destination websites, including, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Moviefone, Engadget, Patch, AOL Music, StyleList and MapQuest. The AOL Group includes, ADTECH, Pictela, Video (inclusive of AOL Video, goviral and 5min Media), Content Solutions and Sponsored Listings and serves a combined content and advertising market at scale through video, brand advertising, content and ad serving. AOL is focused on engaging consumers and providing online advertising services and solutions on both AOL Huffington Post Media Group destination websites and third-party websites, in addition to serving consumer platforms including AOL Mail, AIM,, and mobile experiences. AOL also operates one of the largest Internet subscription access services in the U.S., which serves as another distribution channel for its consumer subscription products, such as AOL TechGuru and Computer Checkup.

About VivaKi

VivaKi is part of Publicis Groupe (Euronext Paris Exchange: FR0000130577; and part of the CAC 40 index) the world’s third largest communications group. VivaKi aggregates the marketplace influence of four autonomous brands, including two global media agency networks: ZenithOptimedia and Starcom MediaVest Group; and two leading digital marketing agencies: Digitas and Razorfish. On behalf of its agency brands and their clients, VivaKi faces the market to help identify and build technology, message distribution, audience aggregation and content solutions for the future.

About The Pool

The Pool is a first of its kind industry program that unites the financial resources and thought leadership of its clients and a host of content providers to test and create industry standards for new advertising models. By “pooling” insights and resources, this initiative aims to identify future engagement models across a variety of emerging media platforms. Participating clients and content providers are given the opportunity to view and evaluate new advertising models and receive access to all proprietary research ahead of the marketplace. The following lanes have been launched and released: Lane 1: US online video – November 2008 launch, February 2010 industry release; Lane 2: US short-form online video – July 2009 launch, September 2010 industry release; Lane 3: China online video – April 2010 launch, April 2011 industry release. The following Lanes have been launched and are still in progress: Lane 4: UK online video – October 2010 launch; Lane 5: MENA display – September 2010 launch; Lane 6: Spain online video – November 2010 launch; Lane 7: Australia online video – March 2011 launch; Lane 8: China online video/cross media metrics – August 2011 launch; Lane 9: US Tablets – October 2011 launch.