Thursday, September 30, 2010

AOL: It's Content Not The Platform

AOL has separated from the mother ship. It is separated from Time Warner and on its own. And while Time Warner also separated its content from its distribution platform, AOL's content wasn't deemed synergistic to Time Warner's growth plans. On its own, AOL is in the midst of building and buying content companies to own a robust line of online content. The latest is Techcrunch.

"TechCrunch and its associated properties and conferences will join the AOL Technology Network while retaining their editorial independence, further bolstering AOL’s position as one of the world’s leading providers of high-quality, tech-oriented content." AOL sees a world of online news and information and a revenue stream derived through the ad platform. But have they learned anything from their time with a cable company? Will they look to build out a walled garden of subscription services, building a license fee model (like the Premium Hulu model) to capture a secondary revenue stream? Will that be one of their next announcements?

I like the commitment that AOL has taken. I'm sure a number of folks are reading content pages and have no clue they are owned by AOL. Whether the corporate name needs to be more visible to the consumer or that synergies can push those consumers from one AOL page to another is uncertain. What is certain is that AOL has become a leaner, meaner fighting machine, hoping to once again become the leader in an ever changing, fast moving industry.

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