David Eun Exits AOL after Huff Po purchase

david-eunAnother high-level AOL executive is heading for the exit door after the company shifted its content strategy again with the $315 million acquisitionof the Huffington Post. David Eun (pictured left), the ex-Googler recruited by AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong to be president of AOL media and studios, is leaving. Eun is a causality of the Huff Po purchase that put the charismatic high profile  founder Arianna Huffington in charge of AOL’s content.

In a memo to AOL employees posted on AOL’s technology blog TechCrunch, Eun described how he and Armstrong tried to find a place for Eun at AOL after the acquisition.

“I came to AOL last year to be the leader of the media organization. With the historic acquisition of The Huffington Post, my role and responsibilities as President, AOL Media are changing. Tim and I have discussed at length how I might continue within the new organizational structure, but ultimately there isn’t a role that matches what I am seeking to do.”

Eun was not immediately available to comment.

It’s the latest of a long list of switches and departures at AOL as the company attempts to turn itself into a media powerhouse dependent mainly on advertising revenue and tries to move away from its lucrative but dying dial-up business. At first, AOL’s  Armstrong made a big deal about scooping up journalists to turn out original content around politics, sports, health and entertainment. That idea fell by the wayside as AOL decided to either outright buy that content  — such as the purchase of the influential tech blog TechCrunch and Huff Post – or simply outsource it.

PaidContent’s Staci D. Kramer has the low down on the AOL executive shuffle and changes to the structure. Eun tells Kramer: “It’s not easy but I go back to why did I come. The job I came here for isn’t exactly the job that’s going to be available after.”

AOL aspires to be a 1990s publishing powerhouse; arms dealer

Tim Armstrong AOL

Tech nerds and gadget geeks over the age of 35 should have no trouble recalling the company Ziff Davis – a former publishing powerhouse home to such magazines as Computer World, PC Week and Red Herring. Ziff’s glory days were in the 1980s and 1990s and it scaled dizzying heights as its magazines groaned under the strain of advertising. Media observers would weigh issues of say Computer World for sport not unlike putting the September issue of fashion mags on the scales.

In 1995, a majority of Ziff was sold to SoftBank for $2.1 billion. Yet, Ziff’s storyline is familiar to a wide swath of Silicon Valley companies that prospered in the late 90s.  The tech bubble popped and by the late naughts Ziff Davis Media headed to bankruptcy court.

Ziff Davis is apparently on the mind of Tim Armstrong (pictured) . The AOL chairman and CEO invoked the company yesterday during his presentation at the Citigroup Media, Entertainment and Telecom conference.

10 AOL staffers jump to Townsquare Media

Former AOL Media President Bill Wilson has snagged 10 of his former colleagues from his old company to join the venture that develops sites for local radio stations Townsquare Media.  In an announcement, Wilson, who serves as Townsquare Media’s executive vice president and chief digital officer, said the company has relaunched over 30 digital sites for local radio stations  and plans to redo all  of the company’s 171 radio station digital properties by the first quarter of 2011.

The Townsquare announcement is timely in that AOL has been in the news lately reportedly trying to figure out a way to combine with Yahoo. One latest path to marriage: AOL is exploring a breakup, that could including dumping its dying but still lucrative dial up business and combining the rest of the company with Yahoo.  At the same time, AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong is trying to transform itself into a major online media player to capture more ad revenue. These and other recent departures raise the specter that something might be afoot at AOL.

Below are the latest Townsquare hires:

    Sun Sachs joins as vice president, product design & engineering from AOL where he was vice president design and product for AOL Media Jared Willig is vice president digital strategy & operations  and was with AOL as vice president, general manager of Moviefone, AOL TV and PopEaster Pete Schiecke joins as director, digital media from AOL where he was a programming director at AOL Radio Stephen Lenz serves as editorial director and was previously AOL senior editor of national feature content for City Guide Juan Sarria is director of engineering and last served as an AOL manager of engineering and tool development at AOL Media Jon Gamel is Townsquare art director and was a former art director at AOL Media Eric Tsuei joins as senior developer and was most recently senior front-end engineer at AOL Media Ashley Iasimone is Townsquare deputy director and used to serve on the editorial team at AOL Music Matthew Wilkening is deputy editor and was an AOL Radio blog contributor Sara D. Anderson, deputy editor and former editor in chief of AOL Radio blog Additionally, Andrea Rosen joined Townsquare as digital content manager from Rocketboom

Bebo founder Michael Birch back at the social network

beboMichael Birch, the founder of online social network Bebo, who sold the company to AOL over two years ago for a spectacular sum, is linked up again to Bebo as an investor and advisor.

“I’ve been watching this space with interest and thought it was a good opportunity to get back and get it back on track,” Birch said.

Birch and his wife Xochi launched Bebo in 2005 and watched it become one of the most popular social networking sites among young adults in the U.K. It caught the attention of AOL, then still hitched to Time Warner, which bought Bebo for $850 million in March 2008 in order to gain access to the site’s 40 million users and to expand AOL advertising sales in markets outside the United States.

UPDATE: AOL News hires guy as new leader

AOL_Say_CanvasThere’s been an exodus of reporters and editors leaving AOL News of late but today the company snaggeda new leader. Jonathan Dube has been named senior vice president and general manager of AOL News & Information heading up its news and content division which includes the tech, finance, and sports group.  Dube will report in to David Eun, president of AOL Media & Studios.

Dube was most recently at where he responsible for, among other things,  editorial content.

“Equal parts journalist and business strategist, Jonathan is adept at building online content partnerships and creating exceptional user experiences,” Eun said in a statement. “I am delighted that he will be taking over the management of our news teams as we continue to innovate and create original content at scale for our users.”

UPDATE: AOL loses key editors; still says it’s home of premium content

AAOL_Say_CanvasOL is losing more key writers and editors, including the head of AOL News. Mike Nizza the editor in chief of AOL News is decamping for News Corp.   World editor James Graff is departing to take the managing editor position at The Week and James Burnett, AOL’s enterprise editor,  left for Rolling Stone.  Daily Finance Senior Writer Sam Gustin is headed to Wired.

It’s a blow to AOL which has boasted  of becoming an online media and entertainment powerhouse known for its premium content.

AOL emailed the following statement:  “We are building a world class organization and are committed to being a leading producer of high quality original content. And we are growing our organization everyday. ”

Nielsen Says – In: social networking; Out: email

INTERNET-SOCIALMEDIA/PRIVACYAnyone with a Facebook account knows how addictive social networking can be. But a new report by analytics firm Nielsen illustrates just how central social networking has become in the Average Joe’s day-to-day life.

Nearly a quarter of Americans’ online time is now spent on social networks, according to Nielsen. And all that time spent on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter is coming at the expense of traditionally popular Web activities, particularly email.

Email accounted for 8.3 percent of Americans’ online time in June, down from 11.5 percent a year earlier.

Lots of traffic, but show us the money

Arianna Huffington and James Pitaro photo courtsey of Beet.TV

Arianna Huffington and James Pitaro photo courtesy of Beet.TV

Traditional media companies have spent the better part of two years trying to cope with the double whammy of recessionary forces washing away advertising revenue and the changing habits of consumers. So how do a bunch of young buck  Internet companies see themselves ?  As media companies!

Well sort of. Not, you know, old school media companies.  Rather, “technology enabled media companies,” as  James Pitaro, vice president, media at Yahoo phrased it when pressed on Tuesday during a  panel discussion about the future of media hosted by I Want Media.

Pitaro was on hand with a bunch of other big names like Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post;  David Eun, AOL Media president; and Josh Cohen, senior business project manager at Google News. (Go here for the complete lineup).

AOL and its Content Strategy

AOL turned 25 today, prompting Chief Executive Tim Armstrong to make the rounds with co-founder Steve Case to celebrate the milestone. AOL has a colorful and much chronicled history, which we won’t go into detail here. What is most interesting to this reporter is  not AOL’s  past but rather its plan to pitch itself forward  as a content company just at the point when traditional media — we’re  looking at you newspapers –  are undergoing wrenching operational changes.

All of this is to say that content, especially good local content, is expensive to produce even when the plug has been pulled from the printing presses.

Yet AOL executives believe there is a vein to mine and have been snapping up professional journalists while casting wide nets to capture “citizen reporters” eager to get their names out by covering the goings-on and activities at the neighborhood level. AOL is hiring expensive professionals to complement inexpensive user-generated content tied to search engine optimization. Ad dollars, the company hopes, should follow thanks to its technology platforms that AOL believes can maximize ad revenue.

The upside of shutting down Bebo for AOL

ArmstrongTIt might seem obvious to most observers that AOL would want to cut its losses and get out of Bebo sooner rather than later, especially after it confirmed yesterday it was evaluating strategic options for the struggling business (ie shutting it down or selling it).

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong (pictured, left) has been pretty indifferent about the fading social network’s prospects ever since he came on board last year  — though he did initially promise to hold on to it.

But Credit Suisse analyst John Blackledge points out in a client note that Bebo’s burdensome $850 million price tag at the time it was bought might serve some beneficial purpose for AOL after all: