AOL adds new online publishing business unit

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AOL has formed MediaGlow, a division which will centralize all of the company's publishing efforts, and will work to boost the number of its niche content sites.

The division currently includes 70 niche content sites, such as TMZ.com and AOL Health, and hopes to grow to 100 by the end of this year.

MediaGlow becomes the third of AOL's core businesses, joining two other divisions developed over the past 18 months. Platform A is AOL's domestic digital advertising platform, and People Networks, its social networking arm, which includes Bebo and AIM, currently reaches more than 92 million unique worldwide users.

“Our vision was to rebuild AOL into three core businesses: publishing, advertising and social media,” said Randy Falco, chairman and CEO of AOL, in a statement. AOL now “is able to uniquely maximize display advertising opportunities for advertisers and publishers across the Web.”

Unique visitors to AOL's programming content sites grew to 70 million in 2008, according to comScore. In addition, page views increased 40%, and engagement grew 20% year over year.

Bill Wilson, previously EVP of programming for AOL, will serve as president of MediaGlow.

“From our reinvented AOL.com to our vertical content sites, we are creating experiences that successfully reach key demographics and provide unique, relevant and valuable content to consumers and solutions for advertisers,” Wilson said in a statement. “As an ad-supported company, this is a huge asset.”

AOL also has added two MediaGlow studios within its New York and Los Angeles offices, which will provide video production capabilities, including editing and encoding. They also will be used to film original content for outlets such as AOL Music's Sessions, Moviefone's Unscripted and AOL Television's Outside the Box.

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