American Interactive Media, a New York-based producer of online entertainment networks, is busy cooking up a series of deals in preparation for its launch of 12 Internet networks by year-end. Each network is geared toward specific interest groups such as pop culture, children and science fiction.
The AIME sites, as they are called, will be brimming with streaming video, likely to be provided by San Diego-based InterVU, a specialist in broadcasting video across the Internet. Much of the content is being developed so that it can be viewed across high-bandwidth pipelines such as cable broadband or direct satellite services. As with television, the company is hoping a loyal audience will consistently tune into the networks. And, as they can with television, advertisers will be able to create a rotation of spots, this time linked to banners.
“We can create rich advertising in a multi-media sense, which changes the whole click-through sensibility,” said AIME president Mark Graff.
But gaining loyal viewers is no cinch, said Patrick Keane, an analyst for Jupiter Communications, New York. “Most people are accessing the Internet over slow-speed connections so video is still not a great experience online It’s not a very pleasant experience to view streaming content now. For ads, there are people delivering ads, but again it’s a limited environment.”
The first AIME network to launch was ComedyNet (www.comedynet.com), a live comedy site that went up last month and it will be first to benefit from AIME’s most recently signed content deals. For example, the company will integrate services into its network such as e-mail, chat, data management for usage tracking, and ad targeting applications from InfoSpace, Redmond, Wash. InfoSpace will also distribute AIME programming to its syndication partners including: ABC News Ventures, CBS, Lycos, Microsoft Network, AT&T and BarnesandNoble.com, among other sites.
In addition, AIME also has plans to launch Web Passport Network, an Internet service similar to the Home Network, this fall. WPN, however, is designed as a co-branded service. The company expects entities such as brokerage firms and telecommunications companies to be interested in co-branding the WPN service and then re-selling it to customers. Programming will come from 80 content providers including Excite, Bloomberg and TV listing service Gist Communications.