AOL Buys Web Video Startup

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Newly independent AOL -- looking to crank up its original online-video content produced by individual filmmakers and others -- has acquired StudioNow, a startup that provides tools for creating, managing and syndicating video online, in a deal valued at $36.5 million.
AOL said it will integrate StudioNow into Seed.com, it site that solicits and buys content from individual producers across a variety of topics. Nashville, Tenn.-based StudioNow provides video-creation services for more than 3,000 freelance filmmakers, editors, writers and other individuals.
AOL's acquisition of StudioNow closed on Jan. 22 and was valued at $36.5 million in cash and stock, with a portion of the cash paid out over multiple years, the company said. The deal is the first for AOL since it officially separated from Time Warner Inc. on Dec. 10, capping a nearly 10-year alliance that has been called one of the worst corporate mergers in U.S. history.
"The successful combination of a talented team, innovative technology, seasoned/professional video creators and strong client service has rapidly established StudioNow as a leader in online video creation and syndication," AOL chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said in a statement. "Premium original video creation is a fundamental part of AOL's strategy to offer consumers world-class, stimulating content at scale and the integration of StudioNow into Seed.com will enable us to increase our video content/offerings significantly."
AOL said that StudioNow, founded in January 2007, will also continue to develop its existing business as a provider of online video creation, management, storage and syndication services to commercial companies.
AOL also expects to use StudioNow's technology and resources to complement the ongoing work of its in-house studios, both for AOL productions -- which creates original video programming like AOL Sessions, Unscripted, Moviefone Minute and the Engadget Show -- and for its branded advertising and content partners.
Separately, AOL announced Monday that it has hired former Google and Microsoft engineering executive Jeff Reynar, 40, as head of technology for engineering and products in New York.
Previously, Reynar was co-founder and CTO of DBT Labs, which built a social search service and before that spent four and a half years at Google, where he led new approaches to search including Google Squared, an experimental search tool that gathers facts from the Web and presents them in an organized collection. He previously spent nearly five years at Microsoft, where he was a lead program manager on the Authoring Services team that was responsible for Word.

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