Sessions

Brief
Design a weekly online music magazine featuring video performances, interviews, and photo essays with popular artists of all styles for Aol Music.

Challenge
The team wanted to create a product that required minimal design and development maintenance, given the costs of video production, recording, and post-production associated with each Session.

Metrics
The goal was a 30% increase in unique visitors, time spent, and in-stream video ads, along with the retention of a premium advertiser for the program.

Approach
After sketching out the core use cases and interactions, we prototyped low fidelity dHTML and Flash AS 2.0 versions of the product, and it was clear that Flash was the answer (in 2005).  The prototype created a model that team members of each discipline used to think through the challenges that the new experience created.  We were able to test video compression and serving, ad serving frequency,  and overall performance of the application well ahead of launch.  We worked closely with FI to build the final product, and developed the custom CMS internally.

Results
Retention of key sponsor (+25%), 15 million unique visitors per week watching an average of 3 videos (+30%), Doubleclick partnership around innovative video ad integration, minimal weekly maintenance costs; Webby nomination, Published in Taschen’s Cool Websites series (2007).  Most importantly, the music industry loved it.