AOL CEO: We still like TMZ and TMZ still likes us

July 20, 2009

AOL Chief Tim Armstrong has done several interviews with the press to mark the first 100 days in the role. In most of the articles he explains his focus on advertising primarily built around AOL’s collection of premium content brands.

No brand is more premium right now, in advertising terms, than, the Hollywood gossip website AOL jointly owns with Telepictures. Both AOL and Telepictures are units of Time Warner Inc.

TMZ is currently one of the hottest properties on the Web, especially after it was the first to break news of Michael Jackson’s death. In the Web advertising world it caused a bit of a stir by deciding to handle its own advertising sales rather than use the girth of AOL’s team.

Armstrong said he is not too concerned with TMZ’s strategy as such. He said he supports TMZ doing whatever is best for TMZ to make it even more successful.

In general, TMZ has become a fairly major brand. When brands get that big, having sole representation in the market potentially makes sense. For us, job No . 1 is for all our properties to be successful. I think we would be very enthusiastic for TMZ to have the most successful outcome. We’re not sensitive about what TMZ wants to do for the ad sales.

What is less clear, though, is TMZ’s future ownership. It might become wholly owned by AOL, which is currently building up it content sites with recent acquisitions such as and Patch Media.  This is all Armstrong would say for now:

As we separate from Time Warner, TMZ is one of the areas that needs to be discussed.

Armstrong didn’t think it’d be appropriate to discuss those options with Reuters just yet.

(Photo: Reuters)

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