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Is It Too Late for AOL’s Cambio?

In what has all the markings of a desperate last-ditch effort, AOL is hoping some Hollywood boldface can come to the rescue of its floundering teens and young adults destination Cambio. Monthly site traffic was down in August to 663,000 uniques, from a year-ago high of 1.4 million.

Per Dawn C. Chmielewski of the LA Times, AOL is hoping to ramp up the excitement this fall by showcasing web series created by McG, reality TV maestro Mark Burnett and others. However, there’s no guarantee this play engineered by GM Nathan Coyle, who came over in April from CAA, will work:

Some digital media analysts expressed skepticism about Cambio’s new strategy of spending big money on big names for a medium that has yet to deliver big advertising dollars.

“When they run that kind of programming on cable channels, they’re making money on it,” said Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors, a digital media consulting firm. “These sorts of things … feel like you’re spending a lot of money on the come. I’m not confident it’s as effective a strategy as building up lower-cost, more-organic content.”

McG’s eight-part adventure series Aim High, about a high school student who is also a spy, debuts October 18. A preview of Burnett’s Cliffs Notes animated riffs was posted yesterday.

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