AOL Wants To Be The AP For Online Video; Offers “Editors Room” For Video Embeds

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The problem with online video is that producing the high-quality stuff at scale is expensive and difficult. But what if there was a place online that licensed decent videos and made it available to other sites? That is the idea behind Editors Room (sic), a new service from AOL’s 5min (which, like TechCrunch, was acquired by AOL a year ago). “We want to be the AP for video,” says Ran Harnevo, Senior Vice President of AOL Video.

The Editors Room showcases more than 250,000 online videos in 5Min’s library, including videos from BBC News, Hearst, Meredith, GigaOM, blip.tv, Scripps, Revision3, Next New Networks, IGN, and Reuters. They vary in quality from broadcast news clips to low-cost Web production. The Editors Room is a central destination where web publishers can peruse videos on any topic, and embed them for free on their sites. If they want a cut of video ad revenues, they can apply to sign up as a publishing partner with 5Min. Today, this is a manual biz-dev process, but it will become self-serve soon.

“If you don’t have a deal with us,” explains Harnevo, “we wouldn’t stream ads until someone goes and vets your site. It is the opposite of Google AdSense.” AOL wants to pair quality video with quality sites, and charge a premium for the advertising. As much as a quarter of all videos viewed on the web are watched through embeds, and AOL thinks it can become a big source of premium videos for other sies.

The Editors Room is designed for editors of news sites and blogs who don’t have the budget to do a lot of video but want to augment their site with topical videos. The homepage is programmed with news videos, as are each of the category pages such as tech, entertainment, fashion, and food. All of the videos come from in-house production and licensees. You cannot upload your own. It is supposed to be “brand-safe” in that no ads will play next to unpredictable user-generated videos, and the publisher sites are checked out as well. AOL will split the ad revenues with the publishing sites (who might typically get about one third), and then 50/50 of the remainder with the video producer.