AOL

Laura Sanfilippo

Source: corp.aol.com

Source: AOL [20]

770 Broadway

New York, NY

10003

212-206-4400

KEY EXECUTIVES

CEO Tim Armstrong Source: corp.aol.com/leader/tim-armstrong

CEO Tim Armstrong
Source: Corp AOL [1]

President AOL Inc. and Executive VP Bob Lord Source: corp.aol.com/leader/bob-lord

President AOL Inc. and Executive VP Bob Lord
Source: AOL [3]

CFO and Executive VP Holly Hess Source: corp.aol.com/leader/holly-hess

CFO and Executive VP Holly Hess
Source: AOL [2]

Overview

America Online started out as an Internet service provider and has since become a multifaceted Internet giant. America Online is probably most known for its iconic “You’ve got mail” and for its email and instant messaging services, but it is so much more. Not only does AOL provide these more well known services, but it also produces original content, creates apps and continues to grow. The AOL Huffington Post Media Group (AOL HPMG) has over 350 million monthly consumers and consists of 56 sites, including The Huffington Post, Cambio, Moviefone, Mapquest, Engadget, and TechCrunch that lead in news, entertainment, digital, and community content [4]. The AOL HPMG has over 9,000 bloggers including celebrities and politicians, like Aaron Sorkin and Neil Young, who discuss topics making headlines today. The sites combine journalism, technology, engagement and video across all platforms[4]. Today the AOL HPMG is owned by Verizon with whom they continue to grow[4].

History

America Online is an online platform that offers many different services, such as email, apps, video, and blogs that serves millions of people and has continued to grow since its origin. America Online was founded originally in 1985 with the name Quantum Computer Services by Steve Case [5]. It’s name was officially changed to America Online (AOL) in 1991[4]. Soon after, an instant messaging service and AOL’s classic “You’ve got mail” notification were launched [6]. In 1994 AOL hit one million users and began using advertisements within its service. No more than two years later it hit five million subscribers [7]. In 2011 AOL purchased the Huffington Post to form the AOL Huffington Post Media Group and it has continued to grow, buying services like Moviefone and Netscape, and Mapquest [4]. In early 2015 AOL was acquired by Verizon in an over four billion dollar acquisition [8].

AOL Originals

Citizen Mars Source: engadget.com

Citizen Mars Source: Engadget [22]

Source: Deadline.com

Making A Scene Source: Deadline [23]

Source: aoladvertising.com

Park Bench Source: AOL Advertising [24]

In addition to providing various online services, AOL also produces original content from some of the biggest names in Hollywood. AOL’s originals appeal to a wide variety of users because there is something for everyone. Currently in AOL’s library of originals are reality series spanning from #Candidly Nicole, a series following Nicole Richie, based off her Twitter feed, Citizen Mars, a series that follows the finalists for the one way mission to mars, and True Trans which follows trans musician Laura Jane Grace and other members of the trans community [9]. Also in their catalog are series from James Franco and Steve Buscemi. James Franco’s series “Making a Scene” is in it second season where Franco and his team take famous movies, and scenes and recreate them through Franco’s imagination [9]. Steve Buscemi’s acclaimed series “Park Bench With Steve Buscemi,” is a non fiction series hosted by, you guessed it, Steve Buscemi. He sits on a park bench and talks to a wide variety of guests including, Kenan Thompson, and Gilbert Gottfried [10]. The series was nominated for an Emmy in 2014 for Outstanding Short-Form Nonfiction Program [9]. This is only the cusp of AOL’s original content. Their library also includes comedy shows, shows about food, cars, and even ballet [9]. Everyone can find something for them on AOL originals.

Financials

AOL released its last financial update on May 8, 2015 [11]. Though not in the last few months, It contains all of AOL’s first quarter 2015 financial information. In this quarter AOL had a 12% increase in its advertising revenue, going from $433.4 million in the last quarter of 2014 to $483.5 million in the first quarter of 2015 [11]. Additionally, their price for global advertising has increased 10% [11]. These are both important because it is becoming harder and harder to reach people via advertising. If the price for advertising is going up, one can assume that AOL’s advertising strategies are effective. AOL has overall had a successful first quarter with an increased total revenue of 7% going from $583.3 million in the last quarter of 2014 to $625.1 million in the first quarter of 2015 [11].

What’s New

In the past few months AOL has launched a number of new originals and services. In October, Jared Leto’s new series launched on Build called “Beyond the Horizon” which talks about the future of humanity and will have guests such as former Vice President Al Gore and author of The Martian Andy Weir [12].

Source: AOL Advertising advertising.aol.com

Beyond The Horizon Source: AOL Advertising [25]

Earlier this month AOL launched their new series on AOL.com called “Act Like A Musician” which brings together musicians and actors to talk about their passion and create music [13]. Danny Masterson, of “That 70s Show” fame, and The Strokes Albert Hammond Jr. join in the first episode to perform music and talk about their careers [14]. The series, which is currently in its third week, will be a limited run and end after six weeks [13].

In the recent months AOL has also launched various new apps and acquired thousands more. To target millennial users they launched the app “Kanvas” in late October [15]. The app is like a combination of Periscope and Snapchat [15]. It is similar to Snapchat in the sense that you can put filters and effects on your videos, but hopes to outdo the live streaming services, like Meerkat and Periscope, by not removing live streams after periods of time [15].

Source: Entrepreneur entrepreneur.com

Kanvas Source: Entrepreneur [15]

In addition to creating a new app, AOL acquired Millennial Media granting them access to over 65 thousand apps and allowing them to reach over one billion global users [16]. It will also make available more advertising across ONE, AOL’s advertising service, by AOL [17][27].

In September AOL launched LIVE by AOL which is a start to finish service for live events [18]. These productions will be distributed through AOL’s various channels such as Tech Crunch and The Huffington Post [18].

In October AOL went back to its email roots and relaunched ALTO, a service that puts all of your email accounts, be that Gmail or AOL, in one place [19]. ALTO has a dashboard, and many other features, to find the most important things among your email accounts [19]. The goal of ALTO is to make using email on your mobile device more user friendly.

ALTO

Source: ALTO [26]

Wrap Up

In the past few months AOL has launched a number of new programs, videos, and made strategic acquisitions that gives it a leg up in the world we live in today. Its wide variety of online shows appeal to mass audiences. Its new app and newly launched shows appeal again to a wide crowd and specifically to the millennial generation. Its successful financial quarter will help AOL continue to grow. 

[1] Corporate AOL. “Tim Armstrong.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://corp.aol.com/leader/tim-armstrong

[2] Corporate AOL. “Holly Hess.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://corp.aol.com/leader/holly-hess

[3] Corporate AOL. “Bob Lord.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://corp.aol.com/leader/bob-lord

[4] Corporate AOL. “AOL has a strong strategy, a clear mission and a firm commitment to delivering value.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://corp.aol.com/about-aol/overview

[5] Time. “A Brief Guide to the Tumultuous 30-Year History of AOL.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://time.com/3857628/aol-1985-history/

[6] The Washington Post. “25 Years of AOL: A Timeline.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/23/AR2010052303551.html

[7] CNBC. “Timeline: AOL Through the Years.’ Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/12/timeline-aol-through-the-years.html

[8] CNN Money. “Verizon Buys AOL for $4.4 Billion.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://money.cnn.com/2015/05/12/investing/verizon-buys-aol/

[9] AOL. On. “Shows” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://on.aol.com/shows

[10] AOL. On. “Park Bench” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://on.aol.com/parkbench

[11] AOL Financial Information. “Q1 2015 Earnings Presentation.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://ir.aol.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=147895&p=quarterlyearnings

[12] Beyond the Horizon. “Beyond the Horizon.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://www.aol.com/beyondthehorizon/

[13] AOL Press Releases. “Act Like a Musician Premieres on AOL.com.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://corp.aol.com/2015/11/16/act-like-a-musician-premieres-on-aol-com/

[14] Act Like A Musician. “S1E1.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://www.aol.com/actlikeamusician/519231493/

[15] Entrepreneur. “AOL Launches Live Streaming App That’s Part Periscope, Part Snapchat.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/252218

[16] TechCrunch. “AOL Confirms It’s Buying Millennial Media in $238M Deal To Expand Mobile Ads.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/03/aol-acquires-millennial-media/

[17] Business Wire. “AOL to Deepen Its Programmatic Leadership with Agreement to Acquire Millennial Media.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150903005064/en/AOL-Deepen-Programmatic-Leadership-Agreement-Acquire-Millennial

[18] AOL Press Releases. “AOL Launches LIVE by AOL.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://corp.aol.com/2015/09/28/aol-launches-live-by-aol/

[19] AOL Press Releases. “AOL Launches ALTO.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://corp.aol.com/2015/10/28/aol-launches-alto/

[20] AOL. “AOL. image” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://corp.aol.com/

[21] Science Borealis. “America Online image.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://blog.scienceborealis.ca/youve-got-mail-and-everything-else-whats-a-science-blogger-to-do/

[22] Engadget. “Citizen Mars.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://www.engadget.com/citizen-mars/

[23] Deadline. “Hot Trailer: James Franco’s AOL Comedy Series Makes a Scene.” http://deadline.com/2014/09/james-franco-aol-trailer-scott-haze-ahna-oreilly-832391/

[24] AOL Advertising. “AOL Originals Releases Season 2 of ‘Park Bench with Steve Buscemi.'” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://advertising.aol.com/blog/aol-originals-releases-season-2-park-bench-steve-buscemi

[25] AOL Advertising. “Jared Leto’s ‘Beyond the Horizon’ Launches on AOL Build.” Retrieved November 30, 2015. http://advertising.aol.com/blog/jared-letos-beyond-horizon-launches-aol-build

[26] ALTO. “ALTO.’ Retrieved November 30, 2015. https://altomail.com/

[27] AOL Platforms. “ONE by AOL.” Retrieved December 1, 2015. http://www.aolplatforms.com/onebyaol

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