Press Release

June 21, 2011

AOL Announces FOXNEWS.COM, Meredith Corporation, Variety, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and The Weather Channel as New Partners Deploying IAB Portrait

Publishers Continue to Embrace AOL's Technology and Innovation in Online Advertising

AOL (NYSE: AOL) today announced that Pictela, a global platform for distributing high-definition brand content and advertising and a division of the AOL Group, is partnering with, Meredith Corporation, Variety, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and The Weather Channel's to help them deploy the IAB Portrait ad unit across their digital platforms. This news follows last month's announcement with Hearst Magazines Digital Media, a unit of Hearst Magazines, and shows the IAB Portrait is beginning to gain industry-wide adoption. Today's announcement demonstrates publishers are buying into AOL's strategy to drive premium experiences for consumers, advertisers and publishers.

"We are extremely pleased to partner with these publishers on implementing Pictela technology and the IAB Portrait into their digital footprint," said Greg Rogers, CEO, Pictela. "The quick acceptance of the unit, since being named an IAB Rising Star in February, helps validate that AOL is leading the way in innovating in display advertising. Additionally it proves that publishers are ready to consider creating new experiences for their audiences with their quality content side-by-side with our engaging brand ad unit."

Launched in September 2010, the IAB Portrait unit has generated remarkable results.  Engagement levels on IAB Portrait ads are significantly higher than that of industry standard rich media banners:  consumers spend an average of 47 seconds more with an IAB Portrait ad (236%) lift; they also play 24 seconds more of video (100%) lift.* At 300X1050 pixels, IAB Portrait integrates the functionality of three applications, granting users access without leaving the page.

In February 2011, the IAB Portrait unit was recognized as an IAB Rising Stars ad unit.  Agencies, marketers and publishers recognize IAB standard ad units as the foundation of modern digital marketing communications.  Seven of the IAB ad units compose approximately 80 percent of all online ads served in the U.S.  The unit was chosen as a rising star because of the ‘state-of-the-art functionality' and its ‘large, creative-friendly canvas that balances well with page content.'

Jeff Levick, President, AOL Advertising said, "Over 70 brands have run the IAB Portrait ad unit on AOL Huffington Post Media Group properties. Our impressive renewal rates from these brand advertisers speak volumes about the power of this innovative and game-changing brand ad unit."

"The metrics and unit results speak for themselves - IAB Portrait is resonating not only with brand advertisers, but with publishers who are embracing the Pictela technology - the real power behind the ad unit," said Ned Brody, President, AOL Group.

Just last week, AOL announced that is leveraging the Pictela technology across its network enabling advertisers to deliver premium advertising formats at scale across more than 4,500 publisher partners. currently runs two Pictela units, the 300x250 and the 300x600, and powers an additional four which are all IAB standard units including the IAB Portrait.

"The quick adoption of IAB Portrait by these leading publishers demonstrates the industry's commitment to bringing brand advertisers new, more exciting uses of display that offer rich, dynamic, immersive experiences," said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. "The IAB Portrait embraces the full range of the latest interactive tools and technologies that draw on the robust capabilities of the Internet. Brands have wanted this to happen for a long time, and now--thanks in large measure to these publishers--the online creative revolution is upon us."

Publishers Embrace Pictela and IAB Portrait

The five, new publishers accepting the Pictela technology and IAB Portrait ad units are leaders within their key verticals, including Business News, Publishing, Entertainment, News and Weather, as well as pioneers in display advertising.

"Meredith is committed to supporting innovative ad units that are powerful vehicles for telling brand stories," says Lauren Wiener, Senior Vice President, Meredith Women's Network. "The IAB Portrait is an exciting new unit that allows our marketing partners to engage our consumers with sight, sound, motion, and relevant conversation without forcing them to leave the page. We look forward to utilizing it within our digital platforms."

"Variety is pleased to be offering the new IAB portrait ad unit on its website. This unit is all about engagement, which fits squarely with our time based sell strategy, moving away from CPM," said Neil Stiles, President, Variety.

"We at the Wall Street Journal Digital Network are pleased to offer the innovative IAB Portrait units to our advertisers. We feel the large-scale rich format will bring creatives to the forefront while providing significant brand impact against our upscale, affluent audience of business decision makers and engaged investors," said Mark Fishkin, Vice President Digital Sales and Marketing, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network.

"Pictela's platform and IAB Portrait ad unit help us provide visually appealing, engaging, and impactful ads for advertisers," said Beth Lawrence, Executive Vice President, Ad Sales and Media Solutions for The Weather Channel Companies. "By optimizing the overall look and feel of our advertising content, we're improving the user experience and, ultimately, enhancing ad effectiveness."

Pictela is a business unit of the AOL Group which was formed in May 2011. The focus of this group is to position AOL as a global partner for leading publishers, advertisers and agencies seeking to maximize the value of their online brands through premium formats, video, content, networks, platforms and monetization. The eight businesses that make up this Group are, ADTECH, AOL Video, goviral, Pictela, Content Solutions, 5min Media and Sponsored Listings.

*Sources: IAB Portrait Q1'11 Performance Benchmark Report, AOL Internal Data; Unicast Industry Benchmark Report, Q1-Q4'10 (most recent industry data available)


About The Weather Channel Companies
The Weather Channel companies (TWCC) are made up of The Weather Channel® television network, The Weather Channel digital properties, and WSI. The Weather Channel is based in Atlanta and is seen in more than 100 million U.S. households. TWCC also operates Weatherscan®, a 24-hour all-local weather network; The Weather Channel Radio Network; and The Weather Channel HD. The most popular source of weather news and information, TWCC properties reach 60 million monthly Web consumers ( and Desktop) and 32 million monthly mobile users (mobile Web and applications) and offers the second most popular mobile app on all smartphones. WSI, headquartered in Andover, MA, primarily provides business-to-business weather services, particularly for the media, aviation, marine and energy sectors. TWCC is owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. For more information, visit