AOL CEOのTim Armstrong、初の収支会見にて「細分化は友だち」

次の記事

[CG]iPadのベゼルがタッチセンシティブに?

AOLは本日(米国時間2/3)、新会社として上場後初の四半期収支報告を行った。2009年第4四半期の収益は8%減の$471.6M(4億7160万ドル)、利益は$1.4M(140万ドル)だった(下のスライド参照)。CEO Tim Armstrongの会見メモは以下にある。同氏はAOLの戦略の概要を説明し、労働力の1/3を削減した結果、今期の売上は伸び悩むであろう予告すると共に、「AOLは四半期プロジェクトではない」ことを指摘した。ArmstrongはAOLのコンテンツ戦略を強調し、同社の新しいコンテンツ管理システム、Seedおよびビデオ分野ではStudioNowの買収に言及した。また、AOLのニッチ狙い戦略の詳細にも触れ、「細分化は友だち」であると語った。同氏はAOLが将来有料購読サービスにも参入する予定であるとも話した。

現在販売部門は、サイト上のプレミアム広告を、AOLの広告ネットワークに優先して売るよう奨励されている。AOLは赤字の海外事業を閉鎖する計画で、その結果収益に与える影響は$125M(1億2500万ドル)になるが、ヨーロッパだけでも$50M(5000万ドル)の損失があるため、収支は好転するだろう。ディスプレイ広告は横ばいが予想されるが、比率はネットワークから、AOL所有サイトでのプレミアム広告へとシフトするだろう。

以下は私のライブメモ。

Tim Armstrong:

積極的戦略のもと、常に実行あるのみ。

・大規模なコスト削減を行い、従業員の1/3を減らし、新しいコンテンツ管理システムのSeedを設計、開発した。
・メールの整理(広告を減らした)
・経営陣の追加
・StudioNowを最近買収した
・ミドルマーケット営業チームの新設
・販売プロセスの再設計
・対代理店のAOLブランド再活性化
・Time Warnerからの完全離脱

最も重要なのは、魂をこめてAOLの信頼を取り戻すこと。

当社の戦略、
1. コンテンツに関しては、ウェブ上にジャーナリストのためのコンテンツプラットホームを構築し、技術とコンツンツを融合することで、より多くのオーディエンスを集める。
2. 広告では、ブランド広告のウェブ化に協力する。
3. コミュニケーションに関しては、新しいプラットホームを開発中、
4. 有料サービスに関して、サービスと購読システムを2010年中にテストする。

チェックリスト中の主要項目

  • コンテンツ製作とコンテンツ提携のスケール化
  • 新しいブランドプラットホームの提供開始
  • 地域コミュニティー数の拡大
  • コミュニケーション製品の落ち込みを止め、新規サービスを開始する。
  • 有料サービスを開始する。

従業員の1/3を失って影響を出さないことは困難であり、広告売上の減少は避けられないが、AOLは四半期プロジェクトではない。

Q&A(英文)

Q: What are new lines of business AOL is launching?

Armstrong

One is ion conetnet, Seed is largest cross company prject in a few years, formulation of a product we hope to bring to market over the course of 2010. StudioNow acquisition on video side is similar ro Seed. You will see us bring projects that help us scalle teh conetent on teh Web and loosk different than the contenet you see on eth Web today.  We continue to work with advertisers and ad agencies. new ads platform will have some new features oin it.  In tehlocal area, we continue to launch Patch. The Q for us is how much we scale it in 2010.

The most important new things will be the new ad system, how we launch and grow that in 2010, and the content system, how we produce and aprtner for great content to a tract users to AOL properties

Q: Why does niche at scale stratgey make sense now. Seems like it depends on doing well in search.

Armstrong, niche at scale is actually quality at scale. What uou consider niche, we don’t. Some people may look at Engadget as niche, but that blog won blog of the decade and also was the official blog covering CES. We had a partner in Sprint that saw that as attractive.  It is a scale advertisers find very attractive. A content strategy that people relate to.  We are able to bundle those audiences together and create scale for advertisers. Seed and StudioNow wil help us fuel more properties like an Engadget.

Second Q, are these properties created for search?  Search si an important part of it but if you look at referral traffic, it is other things, Twitter, Facebook, other things, our own properties in recirculation, we look at the mix.  Our strategy around distribution is not reliant on search. It is a part of it. Internally we say fragmentation is our friend

Q: Audience numbers, paid services?

Armstrong: You might see bumps in total uniques, but company is getting healthier underneath as we shift our content strategy. Will shut some properties, open new ones. Will audience grow overall?  I am not sure, but focussed on growing audiences in specific category?

People look at paid services as dialu-p access, there are other paid services, where people bring their own access.  It is an interesting asset as paid services are becoming more viable. We look at services and subscriptions as areas we will be testing this year.

There were a number of deals before that were unprofitable for us. The company was hooked on pageviews. We are now focussing on net revenue.

Q: Technology toolkit

A: first and foremost we have to be clear about which platforms we are betting on. Second is what are clear and differentiated parts of those products. Who is building those products. the product team was disbanded at AOL a couple years ago. We are bringing in product people and engineers. We have had very good success bringing people into the company. Third thing is to open up the platform to external developers. AOL is not necessarily the most open platform. In the process of looking at the infrastructure and relationship with outside

on acquisition,$37M StudioNow, I have said this before, we are out of the Hail Mary business. I think StudioNow is great example of what we would hope to do in the future in M&A. They have great group of people,strong leadership and strong engineers.

On search deal, we have had a great partnership with Google, we continue to be close to them. What we are expecting to get out of search deal is longer-term partnership where we are both aligned. We have along partnership with Google. Marketplace is more competitive. First and foremost if you are looking for us to squeeze more dollars or pennies out every quarter, you are going to be disappointed. Looking for a deal that helps our strategy, a reasonable deal for us and the partner. We are a content focussed company, distribution is almost as important to us as money, we will look for distribution as much as money in the deal.

Q: divestitures, what are non-core?

CFO: likely we will trade some assets away if we can get a good deal and they are non-strategic.

Q: How will brand advertising on the Web grow? Also international shutdowns, more color?
Armstrong: I think there is less apprehension from brand advertisers moving to the Web. The reality is that brand advertising online or offline hasn’t really changed. Brands like to connect themselves to stronger brand experiences. If your P&G or someone like that you want to put yourself with other brands of the same quality. That is what we are about, high quality content and sites that are transitional for high quality brands to go from offline world to online world.

I had an experience last ten, 15 years doing advertising every single day, advertising that was accountable, clickable, fortunately for my last company we got the whole industry thinking that way. If you are a consumer walking down the aisle and there is a generic and branded detergent, our job is to put that brand around quality content to make that consumer believe it os worth it to pay more for that branded detergent.

Q: you have very attractive margins in access and search, display is less, what is overall profit margin you are looking at and what is the key driver of margins in display? How do you drive margins in the display side?

CFO: the good and bad news in display is there is a lot of operating leverage, we’ve seen the downside as we’ve gone through the ad recession. As we come out of that we should be able to drive incremental OEBITDA conversion. We do see benefits on the pricing side, saw it in the 4th quarter. We have a compelling product to sell to advertisers, added more than 150 new advertisers in the fourth quarter

Armstrong: What it comes down to is user engagement, our ability to do high-quality content.

Armstrong: I would highlight from 2009, we are very happy with how we did, when you layer on a global cost restructuring and a spin-off from Time Warner. We care more about execution than you do. We have a clear strategy we want to deliver on. We are not focussed on quarter over quarter results, but how does AOL become a very valuable property on the Internet. I would like to thank the employees of AOL, everyone worked exceptionally hard, pulling double duty.

Request-AOL Q4 2009 Earnings Presentation

[原文へ]

(翻訳:Nob Takahashi)