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“The idea is to take these very popular podcasts with their very rabid audiences and find a platform-appropriate way to create a programming block,” said Amber Lawson, AOL’s head of programming. “We want to tap into their audiences and create video content that is consumable in one- to five-minute chunks.”
Carolla told The Hollywood Reporter that his company is assembling “my best rants, best jokes, best ideas” from the daily Adam Carolla Show, and visuals will then added. “You’ll have a nice little bite-size morsel of the show,” he added.
Financial terms are not being disclosed, but in interviews both Carolla and Pollak insist they are approaching this primarily as a promotional opportunity to put their best work in front of AOL’s audience, which is estimated at 15 million visitors each day.
“It truly isn’t about the money,” Pollak said. “In fact, the money has almost nothing to do with it. It’s about reaching an insane amount of fresh new eyes.”
Added Lawson, “It’s a mutually beneficial opportunity for all of us.”
Lawson said the typical AOL audience is 25-54 years old and skews more female than male. This content, which is expected to have strong male appeal, is an attempt to provide more balance to the online service’s lineup.
She says that AOL will likely add more elements to the comedy block in the future and is searching for women and minorities who fit the concept.
AOL will sell advertising against the programming, so content providers are not allowed to include ads that run on their shows in the highlights they provide. AOL will run original material four nights a week, and then highlights Friday. It will go up at 10 p.m. EST and remain on the home page for about six hours.
While Carolla, Pollak and Smith all are known for their no-holds-barred approach, salty language will not be part of the highlights. AOL, said Lawson, has a standards and practices department that will bleep or drop the audio on any the F-bomb or other foul language.
Carolla, whose daily 90-minute podcast generates about a million downloads a week on iTunes, said having his material conform to AOL standards doesn’t bother him.
“This stuff will have a little edge to it but it’s not completely scatological,” he said.
Pollak’s weekly chat show, which attracted a show-record 1.2 million viewers in December, will be cut into four AOL segments each week. Smith does a weekly show and will provide only one segment to AOL each week.
Pollak says he encourages his guests, who in recent weeks included Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Rudd and Dana Carvey, to speak freely, including the F-word. However he doesn’t see the AOL approach as a problem.
“We just drop out the audio track when those words pop up,” he said. “But people still will know what is being said.”
Added Lawson: “I know this isn’t what people expect from AOL. But you just watch out. We’ve got more to come.”
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