AOL CEO Tim Armstrong likes to streamline things. And he is about to streamline AOL even more. Somewhat reversing the anti-portal strategy he inherited, he will start to consolidate 53 different content brands into 20 “power brands.” (Don’t worry, TechCrunch is still one of them).
“More and more stuff is moving towards well-known brands,” says Armstrong. “Unless human nature is going to totally change, the Internet is going to end up in a branded environment.”
The Huffington Post will be absorbing many of the former stand-alone AOL editorial sites, and in the process expanding from 28 sections to 36. Armstrong believes that simplifying AOL’s content portfolio will make it easier to sell ads and attract readers. Instead of “300 different things that sales people could sell, now they can focus their sales efforts against key categories.”
AOL’s celebrity site PopEater, for instance, will become HuffPost Celebrity. AOL News is already consolidated into the Huffington Post and Politics Daily has been rolled into HuffPost Politics. Kitchen Daily will become HuffPost Kitchen, Parent Dish will become HuffPost Parents, AOL Black Voices will become HuffPost Black Voices, and so on. HuffPost Music, HuffPost Small Business, and HuffPost Kids will all be new.
Outside of the Huffington Post, the power brands that will remain are:
AOL Healthy Living
AOL Money & Finance,
Meanwhile, AOL will be merging its two main homegrown content management systems: Blogsmith and the Huffington Post’s own custom CMS based on Movable Type. The new CMS will all be merged into the Huffington Post’s system, although a few big sites like Engadget will remain on Blogsmith for the time being. (TechCrunch will stay on WordPress).
All of these changes will take place over the summer.