AOL Wears New Garb to Please the Users

AOL Inc. has launched a new site programmed in day-parts, putting video front and center, featuring original and sourced content and emphasizing local integration.

With its continuous efforts to revamp the site, recently AOL had launched Patch’s 100th site, Morristown Patch. It also announced that Patch plans to rapidly expand to more than 500 U.S. neighborhoods in 20 states by the end of 2010.

Patch is a local content and advertising platform. (Read: How AOL Uses Patch to Reach Communities)

As traditional media – print and television – is slowly phasing out, leading content providers are exploring new-media, online channels to deliver their content to consumers across the world. (Read: Newspapers, TV on Deathbed; Online in Baby Bed)

Like AOL, others companies are also working aggressively to woo online users by introducing new versions of their sites.

PBS, for example, has announced the beta launch of a new, featuring local content from member stations, full TV episodes from series and auto-localization features. (Read: Circus to Premiere on PBS for iPad)

And social networking site Myspace has decided to position itself as a social entertainment destination for the young users. With this aim, it has announced a new brand, website and a suite of products. (Read: Myspace Creates New Fun Space for Gen Y)

It is believed that video is going to be the most important component for online information services. Videos are increasingly becoming popular among online audience of all age groups.

PBS reports that for the first time, its is the No. 1 kids site for free videos streamed based on the number of videos viewed, according to the September data provided by Web researcher comScore. (Read: Online Videos Getting Popular Among Kids)

According to comScore Video Metrix, 175 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in September for an average of 14.4 hours per viewer. The total U.S. Internet audience engaged in more than 5.2 billion viewing sessions during the month. 

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AOL says the new page design is based on several iterations tested by the company and marks the latest step in AOL’s strategy to marry high-quality content at scale with innovative functionality and technology.

Its aim is to create a highly-visual and more rewarding experience for users and advertisers.

The new is based on their interests and usage habits, including making multiple visits to the site throughout the day with an increasing affinity for photos, video, commerce and causes.

New features will be rolling out throughout the week with special elections coverage, along with national consumer promotions and sweepstakes.

“You’ve Got” — The web’s open microphone, where the famous and not-so-famous get their 45 seconds to send timely messages to America. Surprise guests will all have something interesting to say.

The Light Box — An in-page video player takes over the screen and plays an increasing amount of video from AOL and its partners.

AOL Daybreak — A new video feature with a morning news round-up offering a light-hearted look at the day’s top news with host Lindsay Campbell.

The ONE — An original two-minute weekday video focusing on a key story that has gone viral. Contributors will include bloggers, AOL experts, comedians, celebrities and regular people sharing thoughts on the day’s big story.

The Daily Buzz — A strip of fun, engaging and important stories people are talking about and sharing.

Editor’s Picks — A special section on highlighting the best videos each day, bringing users surprising content to share with friends.

WOW! Deal of the Day — Offers for consumers and their families providing deep discounts on dining, shopping, weekend outings, etc. Local offers will be available in select cities with additional local and national deals rolling out before the end of the year.

Cause Marketing –  A high-profile, daily cause-oriented platform to raise awareness and connect users to volunteer opportunities and chances to donate time and money to important causes.

The new also enhances day-part programming and social network sharing capabilities, which continue to drive distribution of AOL content as consumers point their “friends” to compelling stories and videos.

Day-part programming covers key themes:

Morning: The most important stories of the day, followed by pop culture updates and news-you-can-use.

Daytime: Breaking news updates, “snackable” entertainment, latest fashion trends, intriguing personalities and tips for managing home, career, budget and family.

Evening: A wrap up of the day’s news, with additional themed stories on specific days including Makeover Mondays, Foodie Tuesdays and Technology Wednesdays.

The company announced the new design for the site Monday, Nov.1.

AOL Inc. is a leading global Web services company.

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