AOL Realigns Business, Unveils Global Integrated Advertising Platform
AOL today announced a series of changes it is making to position the company as the world’s largest and most effective advertising network, building on its industry-leading Advertising.com network and the recent acquisitions of TACODA, Third Screen Media, Lightningcast and ADTECH. The realignment marks the final stage in AOL’s transition from an access business to a global, ad-supported Web company.
The new entity, called Platform A, will offer advertisers access to the most sophisticated targeting and measurement tools available in the marketplace across Platform A’s unmatched network of third-party sites, as well as AOL’s owned and operated sites. Platform A already reaches more than 90% of the domestic online audience, according to comScore Media Metrix. Platform A builds on the success of Advertising.com, which operates the largest third-party display network, and integrates behavioral targeting leader TACODA, Third Screen Media, which operates the largest mobile media network, market leading video ad serving platform Lightningcast, and ADTECH’s global ad serving platform.
AOL also announced that it will move its corporate headquarters to New York City, locating it in the center of the media advertising marketplace.
“With these changes, Randy Falco, Ron Grant and their team have positioned AOL to benefit fully from the trends that are reshaping the online advertising business and to expand AOL’s leadership in it,” said Jeff Bewkes, President and COO of Time Warner. “Advertisers are increasingly demanding quality, scale and measurable results, and the new Platform A organization delivers that.”
“With the increasing fragmentation of online audiences, the best way to serve advertisers is to enable them to harness massive advertising networks that reach across the entire Internet, not just our AOL websites,” said Randy Falco, Chairman and CEO of AOL. “And over the past eight months, we have put together a network with unprecedented reach and state-of-the-art solutions that accomplishes this. With the launch of Platform A, we are unleashing this powerful network to deliver unrivaled transparency and return on investment for our marketing partners.”
Curtis G. Viebranz was named AOL EVP and President of Platform A, reporting to AOL President and COO Ron Grant. Viebranz was formerly CEO of TACODA. Reporting to him will be Lynda Clarizio, who continues to head Advertising.com, and Kathy Kayse, who will run AOL brand solutions, focusing on custom solutions leveraging our premium inventory and the assets across Platform A for top brand advertisers.
AOL will relocate its corporate headquarters to 770 Broadway in New York City, where the company has leased office space and where AOL’s New York-based advertising and programming operations also will be based. AOL will continue to have significant operations in Dulles, VA, as well as offices in Mountain View, CA, and other locations.
“New York City is the center of advertising, so it makes perfect sense to locate our corporate headquarters here,” said Falco.
AOL separately announced today that it has signed an agreement with HP to offer co-branded, localized versions of its portal, toolbar and search on HP desktop and notebook PCs sold worldwide. Under the agreement, the co-branded portal will be set as the default homepage, and the co-branded toolbar and search will be default settings in various countries worldwide.
The agreement extends and expands the existing relationship between HP and AOL, which provides consumers with a co-branded AOL/HP portal as the default homepage for HP consumer PCs sold in the U.S.
Under the new agreement, AOL will provide HP with co-branded local language portals and toolbars, as well as search solutions for each relevant country. AOL will provide HP users with a customizable, modular co-branded portal, based on myAOL, which was recently released into public beta in the U.S. The portal will provide space on the home page for end users to access relevant HP content, services and partner offerings, as well as offer consumers and business users access to other key AOL products and services in international markets.
These announcements are part of a series of aggressive steps AOL is taking to grow its advertising business and increase the size and engagement of its worldwide audience based on four key pillars: building a world-leading display advertising network; products and programming leadership on the Web; rapid international growth; and right-sizing the company’s cost structure.
For example, the company has revamped its product and programming lineup, introducing new products like Mgnet and Bluestring, enhancing current products like its web-based AOL Mail and AIM services, and re-launching key channels like News, Sports, Money & Finance and Music. In addition, AOL has launched new portals in India, Austria, the Netherlands and, last week, in Italy.
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