While AOL’s absorption of Microsoft’s display, search and video ads business is indicative of Verizon’s digital media interests, industry insiders aren’t quite convinced the flagship publications it inherited through the AOL acquisition will stick around for the long haul.
An early Huffington Post exec said Verizon will needed to treat the media group like “a very premium content experience” in order to justify keeping it and to avoid bleeding key talent.
“If they treat it like generic content as you can imagine a Verizon doing, it’s not going to go well,” the former employee said. “But if they give HuffPo a clear budget and clear economy and get out of the way, it can be a tremendous asset for them.”
Gartner Research Director Martin Kihn added the Microsoft deal, revealed Monday, “makes AOL look less like a publisher and more like an ad network, so … it’s hard to believe a phone company would want to stay in the news business.”
Last week, Verizon confirmed the summer release of an OTT video service, a mobile-first offering some AOL insiders compared to Hulu, with free, ad-supported and video subscription models.
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