AOL Media president Bill Wilson, who has spearheaded the company’s recent push into niche content verticals, is leaving the company.
Wilson is being replaced by David Eun, formerly Google’s vp of content partnerships—as AOL chief executive officer Tim Armstrong continues to restock the company’s management team with veterans of his former employer. Starting on Mar. 1, Eun—who had previously worked at AOL up until 2006—will assume the role of president of AOL Media and Studios, overseeing the company’s 80 content sites, along with its burgeoning low-cost content production initiative Seed.com and StudioNow, the video production platform AOL acquired last month.
Until recently, AOL had presented the nine-year company veteran Wilson as one of its more successful and high-profile leaders; under his stewardship the Web pioneer has demonstrated significant traffic growth for its owned-and-operated content properties (which had been grouped under the MediaGlow umbrella). Wilson’s team had also successfully launched several fast growing properties that did not carry the AOL brand, such as DailyFinance.com and Lemondrop.com.
To date, though, AOL has struggled in turning niche audiences into ad dollars.
In a memo issued to AOL employees, Armstrong said that the choice to leave was Wilson’s. “The fact that we have such a strong foundation in the content space is due to the determination and dedication of Bill Wilson,” Armstrong wrote. “He saw the opportunity presented by audience fragmentation on the Web and positioned AOL’s content offerings in a number of key verticals. Early in the new year, Bill told me that although he remains committed to the vision and strategy of AOL, he’s ready for a break.”
Now Eun takes the reigns over AOL’s original content strategy, which Armstrong has said will continue to be the company’s core focus going forward. “David brings an impressive breadth of media experience to AOL at an exciting juncture for the company as we focus on scaling our content platforms, production and partnerships to offer quality, original content that will engage consumers and bring them and their friends back to our properties time and again,” Armstrong said in a statement.
Eun’s departure can be seen as a blow to YouTube, which during his tenure has smoothed out some of its relationships with traditional media companies and has signed a large number of distribution partnership as the site attempts to eschew its reliance on user generated content.