Samsung first brand to sign up to AOL's branded content business

Samsung has signed up as the UK launch advertiser of Be On, a global branded content business owned by AOL, with a major digital push to support its Galaxy S4 smartphone.

Be On has been created from the combination of AOL’s existing video distribution service Go Viral, production company AOL Studios, and the creation of new insight tools.

The Samsung campaign running on Be On has been planned by Starcom MediaVest and communicates a "spread the beat" message to showcase the Galaxy S4’s group-play feature, which allows people to share music with friends nearby.

Be On is aiming to help brands create high-quality digital advertising at scale that can run across multiple devices using its Screens service and a rich-media offering called Genie, while AOL Studios can ensure sophisticated production values.

AOL claims Be On has a total reach of 900m worldwide users from thousands of different publishers via the Go Viral network and can target 16 different verticals including "entertainment, home, tech and gaming".

René Rechtman, SVP of AOL Networks International, said AOL has created the proposition because people "don’t really see [digital] advertising any more".

He explained: "The amount of content [online] is unlimited so the value of content is close to zero except for curated content."

The global launch partner will be football club AS Roma, which aims to create a global brand on the scale of Manchester United through digital storytelling.

It has created a film that will run on Be On featuring star-player Francesco Totti and 65-year-old superfan Pepe to kick off the start of its storytelling push.

Roma’s activity is being supported by Nike director Charlie Brooks, following Nike’s announcement that it would be Roma’s new shirt sponsor.

It is understood AOL’s increased focus on improving the quality of branded content comes as the majority of brands shift budget that was traditionally earmarked for TV activity across to creating digital branded content.