a blog about cents, in every form & measure

Monday, February 7, 2011

new merger, new media?

The big news this morning, as summarized by this very efficient press release:

Acquisition Will Solidify AOL's Strategy of Creating a Premier Content Network With Local, National and International Reach

Arianna Huffington To Lead Newly Formed The Huffington Post Media Group Which Will Integrate All Huffington Post and AOL Content, Including News, Tech, Women, Local, Multicultural, Entertainment, Video, Community, and More

The New Combined Media Group Will Reach 117 Million Americans and 270 Million Globally

Group Uniquely Positioned To Redefine the Future of Brand Advertising and Marketing For an Engaged and Influential Audience

Ok, first things first. This press release is really more of a few headlines strung together, rather than a traditional press release (although I have only attached its synposis or blurb here)- I noticed that type of 'yada yada blahhh' stuff came from Arianna Huffington's blog post. Big news for sure, but what does this mean? AOL was surely one of the monoliths of the internet that created accessibility for Ms. Housewife, Joe Schmo and their four kids, but it had been falling off the radar as of late despite the company's deft acquisition of rather lackluster projects (in my humble opinion) that failed to grasp the truly inspired ideas which had prompted their creation - projects like patch.com.

Enter HuffPo, a new type of website for a new type of game, whose players were those very kids and adults who had probably used AOL as their first type of internet server/browser. HuffPo was a website which captured the same type of 'community' which had made AOL so popular in the first place (who doesn't remember slaving over making their profiles "unique"?). Cue in the blogger phenomena with the allure of celebrity and some features for the everyman, and you have HuffPo. I was a fan to be sure, but bigger doesn't always mean better, and somewhere along the line, HuffPo lost some of its sparkle. I've seen the interviews and perused her books - Arianna Huffington seems to have a larger than life personality - and probably wants her website to follow. So there we have it, in the words of Ms. Huffington,
"We're still traveling toward the same destination, with the same people at the wheel, and with the same goals, but we're now going to get there much, much faster."
With this acquisition, both parties hope that gaps in reporting will be filled, videos will increase in number (and supposedly, featuring  original content), photos will abound, and that sucess will come primarily from the allure of customized news. You will have your news how you want it, when you want it - on your phones, computer screens, and at your fingertips at whichever hour you'd like (glitter and flashing icons may or may not be optional). Great. Awesome. I think we've heard those lines before. I won't hold my breath for this big "breakthrough" in media partnership, which follows a period with the largest merger of them all - Comcast/NBC -  was signed, and where the biggest debate of the day is the Verizon/AT&T coverage battle. In a time where bigger, wider, etc. is truly considered better. I'm waiting for original, inspired reporting and coverage that will make me say "wow, I didn't think of it that way."

I'll wait to see what happens. What do you think?

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