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AOL Partners With Vibe Media to Syndicate Online Hip-Hop, Lifestyle Videos (Exclusive)

AOL will run Vibe's video player and sell advertising

AOL has signed a deal to help oversee Vibe Media's online video content and to syndicate its short-form lifestyle and hip-hop videos, TheWrap has learned.

For AOL, the hope is that the media company behind music magazine Vibe and style magazine BlackBook will help it attract a younger and more urban demographic.

"This is an audience that is consuming content over mobile, desktop and multiple devices in a way we believe people will be consuming in the future," Frank Besteiro, head of business development at AOL Video, told TheWrap. "We need to talk to them." 

As part of the partnership, the company's video arm, AOL On Network, will power the back-end technology for Vibe Media’s video player and content-management system. It will also handle its ad sales as part of a revenue sharing deal. AOL’s ad team also gets the first right of sale on Vibe's videos as part of the pact.

Beyond the financial arrangement, the deal bolsters AOL’s content, giving it gets access to some 1,800 videos from Vibe’s catalog, while allowing Vibe to potentially tap a new revenue stream. The Vibe videos will include interviews, photo shoots and behind-the-sceens footage of musicians and tastemakers.

Launched in April, the AOL On Network represented a substantial investment in online video on the part of the internet company. It boasts channels curated by celebrities like  Heidi Klum and Adrian Grenier and videos from AOL sites like Huffington Post, as well as programming from Reuters, AP, BBC, Entertainment Tonight and others.

AOL claims it attracts 1 billion video streams and reaches 61 million unique visitors per month.

But with companies like Maker Studios and Vevo betting heavily on music programming, AOL sees the Vibe partnership as a key way to bolster its outreach to a very Twitter and Facebook friendly niche.

“The way you consume music is very social and so the web becomes a more social place for viewing bands and discovering groups based on recommendations,”  Besteiro said. “The partnership with Vibe was just a natural way to expand that vertical.”