AOL denies content cuts for services
- Mar 31, 2005
An AOL spokesman said news, sport, entertainment, music and so on, "is what our programming team do - it has reorganised to ensure it is more focussed on broadband content (news sport, entertainment etc). In that team we have journalists, and in our tools and products team we have developers, and technical product people."
He said AOL's announcements on Instant Messaging and Voice over IP were "nothing new" and "no dark secret."
"We will continue with tools and services, as we will continue with content," he said.
AOL said it had 2m subscribers 18 months ago and more than 2.3m now. Broadband share of that increased 500k last year to 725,000.
A reorganisation of the programming department over the past three months was to increase the focus on broadband content, given the substantial uptake of broadband services and the increased amount of time broadband users spend accessing content.
AOL says this was not a refocus on 'products and services' as implied in a Netimperative analysis.
"We have always had a products and services team developing all kinds of tools and features, they are separate from Programming and have not been part of that reorganisation," he said.
The move was "was not related to decreases in content usage... our total content usage is increasing year on year. Our music channel has more than one million unique users every month to take just one example. We have more than 100 employees working specifically on delivering content - it is a key part of our strategy.
"AOL globally has lost users but AOL UK has consistently increased its subscriber numbers."
As for AOL's "walled garden" approach, he said "it is only a walled garden to non members. Members can use AOL content and anything they want on the Internet. Far from being an albatross, it is why we generate substantial advertising revenue and how we are able to offer significant aggregated demographic information to advertisers because, unlike portals, we know who our users are."
He admitted however that AOL was "feeling the need to offer more stuff. We always have looked at ways to offer more and will continue to do so, particularly given the variety of broadband speeds available."
On the issue of AOL's subscriber base, the AOL spokesman said "The market as a whole has slowed dramatically over the past four years as we approach saturation, so all ISPs have slowed relatively (some have gone backwards!) but we continue to increase market share at the expense of rivals, which is an ok measure for us."