AOL plans to spin off from Time Warner (TWX) before the end of the year, and CEO Tim Armstrong is about to hit the road to convince institutional investors it’s not a completely crazy idea to bet on the company.
Tim’s main task is to draw attention away from AOL’s rapidly declining ISP business and put it on AOL’s media business. The hard part is, AOL’s dwindling group of ISP subscribers account for a huge portion of the traffic to AOL’s media sites.
This is a big reason why AOL’s display and search ad revenues continue to decline.
So yes, tough task.
But if anybody’s up to it, it’s Tim. Indeed, one cynical take we heard from an AOL insider recently is that Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes hired Tim not to be an operator, but to be what he was at Google: a sales guy — one who can sell AOL to the public (and finally get it off Time Warner’s books).
The point is, AOL’s road show is going to be very important.
So when Tim was the keynote speaker at this morning’s Dow Jones’s Money & Media Conference, we took it to be something of a rehearsal for the big sell jobs Tim has ahead.
Some points Tim hit on:
- Why does AOL need to spin-off?
- When will AOL cut costs by firing people?
- AOL morale has never been higher.
- AOL is betting Internet content will be as valuable as cable/broadcast content.
- AOL is betting on search’s share of advertising declining
- AOL is betting against ad networks.
Here’s a 7 minute highlight reel of Tim’s talk. (Click the link below to see short clips on each topic.)