AOL Time Warner yesterday made good on past reports that it was going to jump into the interactive content game from a high perch.
The media conglomerate debuted its Interactive Video division, which will be responsible for establishing video-on-demand subscription packages, cable IP telephony services and rolling out other services starting as early as September.
Whether the division turns out to be a smart play will be decided by AOL Time Warner's ability to convert consumers — who largely have not taken to paid interactive services yet — into paying customers.
Joseph Collins, chief executive of Time Warner Cable, will head the Interactive Video division and report to AOL CEO Gerald Levin.
Earlier this year, Levin first disclosed that subscription packages would be a major part of the AOL-Time Warner merger.
“The development of what I'll call a mass market service for interactive video – that's really what the merger is about,” he told The New York Times. “Rather than just rely on the interrelationship of the cable company and AOL, I want to sharpen the focus and have them reporting to me.”
Levin's firm is expected to launch a version of AOLTV that runs over cable instead of phone lines before the end of this year.