As expected, AOL (NYSE: TWX) is doing away with its Platform-A brand and will house all its ad functions under the banner of AOL Advertising, a move announced this morning at the company meeting where CEO Tim Armstrong officially unveiled his 100-day restructuring plan. The changes to Platform-A go into affect Sept. 1, Armstrong told the assembled staffers and those watching on a webcast (relayed to outsiders via constant twitters).
Armstrong told staffers the new AOL Advertising unit will include the company’s premium ad sales on its owned & operated properties, its Advertising.com third-party ad network and its AdTech ad serving operations. No word if that means the other parts of Platform-A, which include behavioral targeting Tacoda, contextual advertiser Quigo, streaming media ad specialist Lightningcast, German online ad server AdTech, affiliate marketing network Buy.at and mobile ad services provider Third Screen Media, will lose their brand names in the restructuring. (Wonder if one or more of those could wind up in AOL Ventures.)
—AOL Media: MediaGlow moves into a new unit called AOL Media headed by Bill Wilson as president. Other unit names include AOL Communications, AOL Local & Mapping—both of which will fall under AOL Media—and the much-reported AOL Ventures.) Wilson went from EVP of AOL programming to president of MediaGlow last January when the content unit was reformed. His portfolio, detailed in a new corporate bio, now includes Local & Mapping.
The changes to the business units make it clear: after running away from the AOL brand over the past year, the new team is bent on taking the name back.
In an interview with paidContent last week, Jeff Levick, president for Global Advertising and Strategy, said that while the company was considering what units would undergo a name change, there were no decisions about removing the Platform-A umbrella over the ad services AOL acquired over the past few years.
In his remarks this morning at the 100-days event, Levick took the stage and explained why the company was turning away from Platform-A. According to his prepared remarks obtained by paidContent, Levick said: “In talking to advertisers, marketers and agencies, we heard time and again that the AOL brand matters greatly in this space. Harnessing the brand will help us better convey the power of what AOL has to offer advertisers with our premium content sites, third-party network and unique, data-driven consumer insights.”
The die already seemed to be cast early on by Armstrong, who tapped Levick to replace Platform-A President Greg Coleman shortly after taking the helm at AOL. Coleman, the third person to hold the job in little over a year, was pushed out after less than 100 days in the post. As for the changes in titles and brands, Levick told me last week, “I think its less about what we call ourselves and more about what we deliver. I dont want to get hung up on nomenclature.”
By David Kaplan