Editor’s note: This piece originally ran on PandoDaily.com. It is being reprinted with permission.
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong and Editor in Chief of The Huffington Post Arianna Huffington joined us Monday for the premiere of the 2011 Reuters Global Technology Summit.
Another 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.
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.
AOL 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.
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.
It 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).
Few in the media business know dealmaking better than Barry Diller.
So it comes as little surprise that the head of IAC/Interactive was asked about both the Microsoft-Yahoo deal and the AOL separation during an earnings conference call today. He sounded upbeat on both situations.
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.