AOL's New 'Newspaper' (or Portal?) Strategy #iabiw #iwny

@PaidContent is reporting that AOL, under new exec (and former Googler) David Eun, is refining the company's content strategy into "Super Network" categories like news, life, health and so on. Paid Content likens it to a "newspaper" strategy, but I can't help but think of a portal. After all, isn't that how the portals were conceived and designed -- as big swathes of content against which relevant advertising could be placed?

One important difference here being, of course, that AOL is producing much much more of its content and not primarily aggregating others'. That's a point that CEO Tim Armstrong made (even as the Paid Content piece was being sent around) at the IAB's Innovation Days conference (#iabiw) at Intennet Week (#iwny) in NY. Armstrong said that on AOL (sorry guess it's Aol now ;) ), "youi'll see us more and more doing the originating of the journalism. There's a lot of original journalism" already he said, citing religion, health and other categories. Armstrong a number of times mentioned high-profile names in journalism that AOL had snared. (Armstrong said this to Slate's Jacob Weisberg, a high-profile journalist himself.) UPDATE: Dora Chomiak, friend and sometimes colleague also at the conf. points out that one reason AOL may lag in search optimization is because of their history as walled garden. Though, they have been in the audience attraction and aggregation biz for a lot of years now.)

Armstrong did say AOL may not "get there" completely in having all its content be original at the absolute highest level, but said "You could drive a Mach Truck through the opportunity right now in terms of getting back to the basics in journalism," which is being cut back so many places.

He also said AOL still had work to do in SEO, surprising (to me) for a company that had bet so much of its former fortunes on aggregating content and attracting audiences that way. He said AOL had to find consumers wherever they were "open" to receive it, using a football passing analogy. He said, too , it's incumbent on those creating and distributing content to reach the consumers of it on whatever platform they're using, and continue to use going forward -- whether the Web, mobile, iPad or anything else. (True that, if obvious and said many times before).

And pardon the tags in the head and lead. Twitter's not cooperating today, so want to try to get this to Twitter via the blog.

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