AOL.com is getting a new look today. It’s not a dramatic change, but it brings one big addition to the homepage, a carousel of videos from AOL (which owns TechCrunch) and content partners like Condé Nast Entertainment, ESPN, E!, HSN, WWE, and The Wall Street Journal.
“People wanted more and more video,” AOL.com and AOL Lifestyle President Maureen Sullivan told me. “We weren’t doing a good job of putting video front and center.”
While there were videos on AOL.com before, they weren’t really highlighted in the same way. The new video carousel sits right under the top stories on the homepage, and clicking on a video opens up a new video player. The content comes from existing partnerships, new distributions deals, and from across the sites that AOL owns. As part of the revamp, AOL is creating creating new programming around “experts” like Tim Gunn, Tiki Barber, Molly Sims,
and Rachel Zoe.
Sullivan said that the content in the video carousel (like the rest of the homepage) will change throughout the day — she compared it to a TV network “dynamically doing their programming in real-time.” And yes, the homepage and the videos will be viewable on smartphones and tablet, too.
While you may not have been to AOL.com recently, Sullivan said the site still sees 10 million unique visitors every day. She also suggested that one of her ongoing efforts is to “build some depth into AOL.com.” She acknowledged that there are many on the Internet, particularly younger users, who aren’t “in the market for a homepage,” but who might be enticed to check out individual articles and videos. To the company is creating more content specifically for AOL.com. At the same time, linking to stories on other sites, including those owned by AOL and otherwise, will still be a big part of the mix.
“We know our limitations,” Sullivan said. “We’re not going to ever do what [TechCrunch does] or have a newsroom of the size that Huffington Post has invested in.”
I also did a short interview with Sullivan about the new homepage for TechCrunch TV, which I’ve embedded below.