From our earlier post describing the media strategy:
But the real opportunity for AOL is to grab marketshare in a relatively open field, say some people close to the company. A contingent of AOL executives are said to be pushing Armstrong to embrace what I've heard is called the "Toyota strategy" by building and buying scores of great online media brands. AOL is the "Toyota" and the media brands are like the many car models that Toyota successfully pushes - Highlander, Camry, Pious, etc. The analogy isn't perfect, but it gives you a good idea of how they're thinking of organizing things.The foundation for this strategy is already firmly in place, and has been since AOL acquired Weblogs, Inc. in 2005 for $25 million or so (that was three AOL CEO's ago, when Jonathan Miller was running things). All those great Weblogs brands have continued to grow at a breakneck pace. Sites like Engadget, TUAW and Joystiq are all great niche brands on their own. And AOL has expanded into many other sub-brands through their MediaGlow division under Bill Wilson. MediaGlow was unveiled a year ago. These are AOL's content sites - music, finance, the blogs, and new sites like PoliticsDaily and Love.com. Combined, these sites bring in 76 million unique monthly visitors (Comsore, May 2009). 27 of the Technorati Top 100 blogs are owned by AOL.The MediaGlow team wants to pick up the pieces of the dying print media business. Advertising is falling off a cliff (billions of dollars in advertising has evaporated). Combined with the high structural costs of print media (high wages, and well, printing on paper and mailing to readers) and the result is a lot of high quality talent is suddenly willing to take a job in online, even at a much lower salary.The plan would be to build and buy scores of new brands in every monetizable niche possible. If you see a magazine at the newsstand covering a topic, AOL will have their own online brand for that topic, in blog or other format. They've already got the publishing platform with MediaGlow. New brands can be inserted or built at little marginal operating cost. And the talent is out there for the taking right now.
Update and clarification: We got the numbers a little wrong yesterday. The total number of full time writers and editors in the AOL newsroom is 500, plus another 1,500 freelancers, for a total of 2,000 full and part time contributors.
A few of the journalists now working at AOL:
Alex Salkever - formerly Businessweek's Technology Editor, now at AOL Daily Finance
Jay Mariotti is a national columnist and commentator for FanHouse.com. He also is a daily panelist on ESPN's sports-debate show, "Around The Horn?, seen Monday-Friday at 5 p.m. ET. Mariotti spent 17 years as a lead sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and has covered every major sporting event ¿ national and worldwide ? numerous times. Mariotti is a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and is a Hall of Famer voter. He resides in Chicago.
Kevin B. Blackistone is a national columnist and commentator for FanHouse.com. He also is a regular panelist on ESPN's daily sports-debate show, "Around The Horn". Blackistone currently serves as the Shirley Povich Chair in Sports Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. He is the author of the book: ?A Gift for Ron: Friendship and Sacrifice On and Off the Gridiron? detailing Everson Walls donating a life-saving kidney to former Cowboys teammate Ron Springs. A former award-winning sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Md.