In a further sign of its commitment to producing video content, AOL says it's opening a ground-floor, public-facing studio in lower Manhattan. The company's goal is to increase its video content production threefold this year across all properties.
AOL Build will move from AOL's headquarters at 770 Broadway to a 13,400-square-foot facility designed for shooting 360-degree video. The current facility already produces four hours of live programming a day and 75 live events a month. Past guests have included Oscar-winner Julianne Moore, Grammy-winner Elton John and best-selling author Nicholas Sparks.
According to Jimmy Maymann, evp and president of AOL content and consumer brands, the investment "reflects our commitment to creating immersive, live experiences and creating a studio that will serve as a cultural destination, digitally, as well as within New York City."
In late April, the company bolstered its capabilities by acquiring RYOT Corp., a Los Angeles-based company that produces 360-degree and virtual reality documentaries and branded video content.
AOL already streams about 1 million hours of live programming a day across all of its global partnerships—distributed, owned or AOL-powered channels, CEO Tim Armstrong said at the company's NewFronts event Tuesday evening at South Street Seaport in New York.
"When you think about culture and code, content is an important part," Armstrong said.
AOL demonstrated the possibilities of live video by surprising the small audience of press with a surprise conversation with actors Colin Farrell and Ariane Labed, co-stars of the film The Lobster.
At the NewFronts event, Armstrong said the company, whose audience is now 70 percent mobile, has slated 20 new programs across its digital properties.