UPDATE 1-AOL outsources sports, health news coverage

Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:33pm EST

* AOL announces deals in health, sports and real estate

* Partnerships could have impact on jobs

NEW YORK Jan 13 (Reuters) - AOL Inc (AOL.N) formed three partnerships to help cut costs -- and possibly jobs -- while beefing up three areas of coverage: sports, health and real estate.

AOL said on Thursday it struck news and advertising sales partnerships with Sporting News, Everyday Health and Move Inc (MOVE.O) in a sign that more deals could come as AOL tries to reshape its business.

The partnership with Sporting News could affect AOL's internal sports blog, FanHouse, currently the site's source of sports news. AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong said during a conference call there could be a "partial impact" resulting in job cuts of up to a couple of dozen, though he said it wasn't known if there would be cuts at all at this point.

"We believe these partners are going to be better at doing their core business than we are," Armstrong said. "We believe it will help us reduce the overall expense at AOL while providing a better user experience.

"I think faster, stronger, cheaper is a better way to focus our business."

The FanHouse brand is not disappearing, Armstrong said. Sporting News will provide day-to-day sports news coverage and will become the "flagship sports destination," according to a press release. Sporting News will also sell the advertising for AOL.

Everyday Health will become the health destination for AOL readers looking for information and advice.

Move Inc, the online real estate listings associated with the National Association of Realtors, will supply real estate property data such as homes for sale and neighborhood information to AOL Real Estate.

Last year AOL made several acquisitions to boost its content offerings including the influential technology blog TechCrunch.

For more than year, AOL has been trying to turn around its business, as it moves away from a reliance on providing dial-up Internet access and toward online news and entertainment in order to attract advertising.

AOL is betting that news and video will attract advertisers to its new advertising platform Project Devil, which emphasizes larger display ad formats.

The company has been touting that it is the premiere employer of journalists, hiring more than 500, among them nine Pulitzer prize winners and two voters who pick the Heisman Trophy, awarded each year to U.S. college football's best player.

But in recent months, several journalists who produce AOL's original news and commentary have left the company. (Reporting by Jennifer Saba; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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