Television

HBO, AOL launch a comedy site in the US

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MUMBAI: US broadcaster HBO and internet service provider AOL, which offers online programming for over 100 million users each month, have joined forces on the new broadband website This Just In.

The site is slated to launch in the first quarter of next year.

This Just In will feature humour through the lens of current events ranging from pop culture to politics. It will reflect the broad range of comedy that HBO is known for including cutting edge social commentary, urban comedy and the most current new comedic voices. Leveraging AOLs leadership in online video and innovative web programming, This Just In will feature extensive video content, as well as a blog format that will enable users to tap into the days events as they are happening. This Just In will also be a platform to incubate new programming for other HBO platforms.

The venture will be accessible at www.thisjustin.com. This Just In will replace the existing AOL Comedy channel.

AOL Media Networks will represent This Just In to marketers, offering advertisers the opportunity to associate their brands with an HBO property for the first time ever with the site clearly identified as powered by HBO. In addition to traditional ad units, the venture will work closely with advertisers to create programming that incorporates marketing messages in a way that is as engaging as the content itself. AOL will support the site with all of the tools and technologies of its content publishing, video and social networking platforms as it has with TMZ.com, the successful 24/7 entertainment news website that AOL launched last year with sister company Telepictures.

AOL executive VP, consumer and publisher servicesJim Bankoff says, "This venture will leverage AOL's online expertise and HBO's established reputation for comedy to provide a unique, engaging site for audiences across the web. What's more, for advertisers, this is the first time they can connect to the HBO brand."

HBO executive VP, new media programming Group Carmi Zlotnick says, "Our goal is to create a robust destination that can have the potential of becoming part of the water cooler pop culture like many of our network programs have become. With our heritage and relationships in the comedy space, this platform is ideal for showcasing new forms of entertainment to todays savvy audience and allows us to discover fresh talent and ideas indigenous to new media.

Running the venture is Steve Stanford who was the founder and CEO of Icebox.com, an early Internet comedy site that created programming with many top television writers, and was a co-founder and COO of the edgy, content-driven cell phone service Ampd Mobile. He says, "This is about creating a new kind of entertainment experience that couldnt exist in a non-interactive medium. We will be trying new things and taking risks in the process of developing great Internet comedy."

This Just In is an extension of HBO's commitment to comedy and recognition that many of the most interesting things happening in comedy today are originating on the Internet. Content from the site may also be used across multiple platforms including HBO, HBO multiplex channels, HBO On Demand and HBO Mobile. The broadband comedy venture is only the most recent step HBO is taking to discover and develop up and coming talent.

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