Aol becomes independent, counts on content for success

CEO Tim Armstrong sings a hopeful tune as the company breaks away from Time Warner

Aol officially set sail as an independent, publicly traded company on Thursday, leaving behind its parent company Time Warner and embarking on a journey that could be turbulent.

Techworld Australia: 10 ways to improve your PPC marketing strategy

Aol's years-long transition to an advertising-supported business has been rocky and problematic, and its financial troubles have weighed on Time Warner, which mulled for years ditching the struggling Internet unit.

However, Aol CEO Tim Armstrong, who came on board in March, is confident about his strategy, which focuses on original content, online advertising and Internet communication services.

"It's an exciting day for Aol," he said at a press conference broadcast from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). "Today marks a rebirth for the company and what the future will be built on."

Since the summer, Aol has beefed up considerably its staff of "content creators," like writers and journalists, so that it now has about 3,500 of them, he said, adding that more than 80 percent of the content on Aol sites is now original.

"We believe the next wave of the Internet will really be about content. We have spent since July rebuilding our content engine, which we launched a couple of days ago," Armstrong said.

Aol is also working hard at "rebuilding" its advertising technology and communications services for consumers, he said. "Aol today looks like a very scaled Internet company, a top brand on the Internet," he said.

Yet, signs of trouble abound. Last month, Aol announced plans to cut its global staff by a third and launched a "voluntary" layoff program seeking up to 2,500 employees willing to resign. At the time of the announcement, Aol had about 6,900 employees.

In Time Warner's third quarter, ended Sept. 30, AOL's revenue dropped 23 percent year-on-year to $777 million. It was particularly troubling that Aol's advertising revenue fell 18 percent. That's a much more steep contraction than the 1 percent revenue drop for the global online ad industry, according to IDC.

Since the beginning of 2005, Aol's online ad market share in the U.S. has fallen from 8.2 percent to 4.4 percent in this year's third quarter, according to IDC.

Ironically, during that period of time, Aol has been deliberately trying to go in the opposite direction, de-emphasizing its traditional dial-up Internet access business and attempting to boost its online advertising business.

Aol's stock (AOL) opened at $23.39 on the NYSE and was trading down 2.53 percent at around noon U.S. Eastern Time.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags journalismonline advertisingAOLtime warner

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?