| March 26
March 26 AOL Inc on Wednesday unveiled a
new advertising platform aimed at changing the media buying
process for digital advertising by becoming a one-stop shop.
The new platform, dubbed One, will knit together AOL's
various ad technology offerings like its recent acquisition of
Adap.TV, an electronic trading platform for video advertising.
One is an open platform that will work with the hundreds of
ad technology companies that have crowded the digital landscape.
AOL has also launched smaller tests to purchase TV advertising
through the platform.
AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong compared One to Apple's
iTunes store, which offers hundreds of apps from
"Most significant advertising is going to be as easy as
e-commerce," Armstrong said in an interview, noting the movement
toward automated ad buying.
"One of the trends happening is that the consumer services
side of the Internet is starting to bleed into the business
(services) side of the Internet."
The move could be significant for AOL as it maneuvers to
become the hub of the digital media buying process, which is
quickly becoming automated, similar to how Wall Street investors
trade stocks on exchanges. Google and other companies,
like Adobe, have similar offerings.
Advertising revenue is an integral part of AOL's operations
as it moves away from dwindling but lucrative dial up
During the fourth quarter, AOL's advertising revenue soared
23 percent to $507 million.
"I think AOL has a very large vision for where the
advertising world is going," said Susan Bidel, a senior analyst
at Forrester Research.
"They see it as one big digital platform. From a marketer's'
perspective, to be able to plan and execute across platforms for
single campaigns, that is the holy grail."
In some ways, AOL is going up against the advertising
agencies it assiduously courts, since many firms have set up
their own trading platforms.
But for now, AOL has won the backing of Interpublic Group's
Mediabrands unit, which said it plans to use the One
"We have publicly stated that we plan to deliver 50 percent
automation to our North American buying process by 2016, with
other international markets following closely behind," Matt
Seiler, global CEO of IPG Mediabrands, said in a statement.
"We intend to use AOL as the primary platform partner to
execute on that commitment."
AOL Platforms Chief Executive Bob Lord said the company
hopes to partner with more agencies. "The major fundamental
problem is the chaos and confusion that exists around placing
digital media," Lord said. "What agencies would love is to
actually not spend a lot of time in chaos and re-purpose the
money back into creativity and content."
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Dan