The website is being powered by Truveo – the search engine for videos across the web. So Indian content is basically being optimized from Truveo and being showcased on the AOL Video Portal.
So they are basically creating a platform by leveraging AOL’s brand to drive video views. Having said that, I don’t think AOL’s brand identity is as strong in India as one might imagine. They have had some good tie ups with MTNL – that might help.
The portal is displaying banner and flash based ads along with videos. The launch comes closely after YouTube launched its India Portal – YouTube.in. The key difference between the 2 is that YouTube has ‘Promoted Videos’ while AOL has ‘traditional’ Internet ads. AOL’s video portal also does not allow you to be upload videos. So it’s a one to many conversation. For India that may not necessarily be a bad thing. Not too many Indians are creating original video content anyway (except our WATShow :p).
Another announcement that came in from AOL last week was that of them allowing SMS to Indian Mobile Phones from AOL Mail and AOL Messenger. This is a smart strategy by AOL. Free SMS is currently a handy tool to lure Indian audiences. This should have come a few months back – or a year and half back would have been ideal.
AOL has also launched a South Cinema Channel. They have tied up with Galatta.com for movie content related to South India – the regional channel has content from Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil cinema (all in English).
An interesting strategy by AOL India. They are going local and simultaneously setting up a regional presence. They have begun to understand that Indian Audiences prefer regional content. The Juxt Consult report that released recently also stressed on the fact that 70% of the representative sample would prefer to access the Internet in regional languages.