AOL Shifting Content Strategy, Hiring ‘Hundreds’

Media president David Eun to outline “super networks” plan at meeting

David Eun, AOL’s new president of its media and studios division, has been telling people at Internet Week about the company’s new content strategy and “start-around” mindset.

Eun is expected to formalize the strategy – which involves what he calls 17 “super networks” – with staffers at an all-hands meeting in New York on Wednesday. AOL has more than 80 branded Web sites, and Eun plans to trim that number down to about 30 and filter into the larger groups – like AOL News & Info, AOL Entertainment and AOL Life — without losing the content. The goal? “To be the world's largest producer of high-quality content, period.”

During an Internet Week appearance, AOL chief Tim Armstrong pointed out that roughly 80 percent of AOL’s content is produced in-house. Eun told AdAge that he plans to hire hundreds of journalists in the next 12 months. “We are going to be the largest net hirer of journalists in the world next year," he said.

Eun also said he plans to boost the use of freelance contributors, of which it has about 40,000 across AOL, SEED and Studio One. According to AdAge, the company is working on a way to measure the value of content based on the click rate, time spent and associated ad revenue.

The strategy is similar in scope to what Yahoo is trying to do, contentwise. Last month, Yahoo acquired Associated Content – a low-cost, high-volume content operation, in a deal worth $100 million. Associated Content boasts a network of 380,000 contributors.

Eun, a former Google executive, was hired by Armstrong to run the content side in February.

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