Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

AOL Teams With Taboola to Get More Video on Other Publishers’ Sites

AOL already makes a lot of money from Web video. Now it is trying to make even more, with the help of other publishers.

Tim Armstrong’s Web portal already pushes its catalog of 600,000+ videos to other people’s sites. But now it has a new strategy, via a new partnership with Taboola, a Web content recommendation engine.

The idea: Publishers add a box at the bottom of their pages that serves up videos from AOL as well as links to other sites picked by Taboola.

If readers click on an AOL video link, AOL will serve up a specialized homepage for each video, and share some of the ad revenue from the clip with the publisher. If readers click on a Taboola-recommneded off-site link, Taboola will share some of the revenue it gets from directing that click with the publisher, too.

If that sounds complicated, it’s because I’ve done a poor job of explaining it, because it’s relatively straightforward. You can see it in action now if you go to any Huffington Post article page and scroll down near the bottom, where you’ll see a matrix that looks like this:

aol:taboolaThe three images at the top link to videos from AOL (and its syndication partners); the bottom three link out to sites that have done traffic-referral deals with Taboola.

Context: The Taboola deal replaces one AOL used to have with Outbrain, which bought AOL’s own Surphace recommendation engine in 2011. Bigger context: Video used to be a small business for AOL, but has grown dramatically, primarily via its acquisition of video syndicator 5Min, which AOL bought in 2010. That year, AOL did about $10 million in video revenue; last year, Armstrong said the company was going to do $100 million in video.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald