AOL Will Offer Free Streaming Miramax Movies To U.S. Viewers

AOL is getting into the full-length movie business with a new ‘Movies’ section for the AOL On Network (disclosure: AOL owns TechCrunch). The company’s movie portal is adding titles from Miramax starting April 30, including what the company says will be “tens of films,” with the selection refreshing on a monthly basis. It’s a move into territory that could put AOL in more direct competition with services like Netflix, but on an ad-supported rather than subscription-based model.

AOL is basically trying to spread its bets with its video portal, with video clips ranging in length from just a few seconds now to feature-length multi-hour movies. It has original content in the works, and is also in talks with other studios beyond Miramax to further stock the new “Movies” section with additional content.

Video is a key initiative in terms of AOL’s plans for future growth, and recent reports suggest that cable operators genuinely have something to fear from portals like YouTube and AOL (which places third in terms of ranked online video content properties by unique traffic, according to comScore’s latest numbers). We’ll likely see more studios embrace ad-supported online models like that offered by AOL On, especially as their consumer reach expands through presence on devices like the Xbox One, PS4, Roku and Amazon Fire TV streaming platforms.