At Advertising Weekin New York I had a chance to sit down with AOL CEO Tim Armstrong in his first TV interview since taking over the troubled company. As AOL heads towards an IPO, spinning off from Time Warner before the end of the year, Armstrong is hard at work turning the division known for its subscription web mail service - a revenue stream that no longer exists - into an ad-oriented, content-driven company.
I couldn't help but ask Armstrong why he would leave a plum job at much-hipper Google for a role at a company many would have left for dead.
He gave a very convincing argument why AOL has some serious potential.
For one thing its ad platform reaches over 90 percent of US web audiences.
For another, it has some 80 strong content websites, like Bloggingstocks.com and stylelist.com, many of which have zero association with the AOL brand. Armstrong also sees unexploited opportunities in hyper-local web content, an opportunity he says none of AOL's web rivals are trying to tackle.
Armstrong is shooting high: he says he wants AOL to be the same kind of umbrella brand/parent company as Disney. What Disney is to ESPN and ABC, he wants AOL to be that kind of parent company for web content, which is saying a lot.
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