Saving AOL with the help of P&G
The analysts say the situation is dire, but Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, tells the New York Times how he is going to save the company with the help of Procter & Gamble.
Former Google boy Armstrong tells the paper that: “If you tried to recreate AOL’s assets, it would be incredibly expensive.”
This is true and so is the fact that no one would. For Armstrong it is a case of working with what you’ve got and building on it. He has to, but let’s face it AOL is a funny company. A real hotch potch. Here’s a for instance. AOL still has 6.2m dial-up internet customers. Pretty amazing, right? So is the fact that 200,000 of them cancel every month.
Its main business is (internet access being an increasing side show) advertising and content. It makes a lot of content and Armstrong is pinning his hopes on that being AOL’s salvation.
Others are less sure. Richard Greenfield, an analyst with Pali Capital, tells the paper: “Expectations from myself and Wall Street for AOL are still dire.”
On Friday Armstrong will lay out his five-point strategy to save AOL: “AOL has a choice to make,” he says. “We either lose slowly or win quickly. We are choosing to win quickly.”
Do behemoths win quick? Armstrong tells the New York Times he wants to compete directly with Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google to become the dominant network for display ads. With Yahoo! and Microsoft cosying up that could be tough.
Armstrong is also looking at content. Definitely less competition here. Microsoft is kind of interested, but Google really isn’t (it only wants other people’s content…boom boom).
Armstrong is looking at AOL’s 70 blogs, including PoliticsDaily, Boombox (hip-hop music), WalletPop (personal finance) and Paw Nation (pets).
To that mix he is going to add a lot more video. Armstrong is hoping that all this content will appeal to consumer products companies with big marketing budgets like P&G.
“If you ask P&G what companies have the products that make you feel most comfortable, with the best content and the best targeting, AOL is already on the list today. Our aim is to move AOL to the top of the list.”