America Online has launched a preview of a streaming online video
service designed for its 36 million Instant Messenger users.
The service, called AIM Video, will deliver content through six news and
entertainment channels. It will feature music videos, movie trailers,
entertainment news, celebrity interviews and sports highlights. It will also
offer original comedy, news and features from AOL Television.
AOL began beta testing the product today, but has not set a timetable
for a launch date. The new streaming video system is part of AOL’s ongoing
push to boost ad sales, through clickable video ads, and differentiate its
instant messaging product from the growing number of similar services.
Last week, the ISP announced it
planned to reorganize
around four business units — Access, Audience, Digital Services and AOL Europe — to improve
decision-making. The Audience unit is slated to oversee instant messaging projects.
The company partnered with film studios, record companies and television
networks to provide Internet users, including its 36 million active AIM
users, with the service. Viewers can watch one 30-second advertisement per
channel through an implementation of the “out of banner” video format.
Currently AIM Video offers 12 clips of quality streaming video
content in six channels, including “What’s New,” “Music,” “Movies & TV,” “News & Money,”
“Lifestyles” and “Sports.”
A “Send to a Buddy” feature lets viewers send
video links to other users via the AIM service.