How to save AOL? Make it more like TV! Everybody loves TV, right?
Miller wants to divide AOL’s 25 million U.S. subscribers into six groups and serve them news, advertising and other features tailored to their interests.
The segmentation strategy is consistent with the renewed focus on subscribers that is the mantra of AOL Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis, who says the company has lost its way in recent years by letting big advertising deals drive its content, rather than catering to the interests of its members. AOL subscribers pay $23.90 a month for dial-up access to the Internet and to receive exclusive content.
I used AOL as my backup ISP for several years. Under the “BYON” (Bring Your Own Network) plan, I paid ten bucks a month to keep in touch with my many friends who used AOL. AOL jacked up the price, and so I left.
Their original content wasn’t worth fifteen dollars, since it mostly consisted of grainy RealPlayer movie trailer videos — and RealPlayer had a nasty habit of crashing my system, reassigning my default players (even when told not to) and leaving a string of ugly pop-ups every time I tried to close it.
And that’s to say nothing of AOL’s rudimentary email system (essentially unchanged since the early ’90s or earlier), annoying advertising, and endless shilling for Time-Warner stuff. “Synergy” is business-speak for “interminable boosterism.”
Now they want to make it more like the wreck that is cable television? Spare us, please.
If AOL wants to survive, they