On January 27th, TechRaptor reported on the closure of the popular video game blog Joystiq as part of an effort by AOL to restructure its organization. Details were scant at the time and even the folks at Joystiq seemed a bit confused as to whether their blog would last the night, but in the past few days information has surfaced about the state of AOL's current content offering platforms.
To start it seems that there will be around 150 people laid off with the majority being cut from the sales department.
This sad news follows confirmation of Joystiq's closure. For a time it was believed that Joystiq would end up on its own channel at Endgadget, but Alexander Sliwinski, the former News Content Director for Joystiq made the official announcement via twitter that "Joystiq is no more". This closure includes the shutdown of both WoW Insider and Massively (Massively may return, though in a different form according to their former EIC).
Currently, the only blog consolidation that AOL has gone through with is merging AOL Autos into Autoblog. There are plans to merge TUAW, the self-described "Unofficial Apple Weblog" into Endgadget. Other consolidations schedule to occur include the family-inspired Parentdish blog and fashion/beauty blog MyDaily. These two British-based blogs will be combined into the current Huffington Post website.
Other sites that are suffering from reduced traffic include KitchenDaily and Pawnation, but their fates have yet to be revealed.
As we detailed in the other news report regarding Joytiq's shutdown rumor, the main reason behind this consolidation of content platforms is a result of AOL attempting to focus on automated advertising. CEO Tim Armstrong elaborated on AOL's goals saying the company is trying to "increase in the value and growth of our global content brands by simplifying the portfolio of brands and increasing our share of video and mobile in key content areas.”
AOL's focus on simplifying its portfolio comes in the wake of their third quarter earnings report. According to AOL's earnings release, AOL's global advertising revenues increased by 18% jumping from $399.7 million in 2013 to $473.4 million in 2014. Although this growth is impressive, Techcrunch brings out that the company's profit is "currently driven not by its advertising business but by its subscriptions revenues (eg its legacy dial-up business and other paid services)." With this in mind, it will be interesting to see what future choices AOL makes.
Do you think they will offer better content in the future? Is there hope for gaming blogs like Massively or WoW Insider to continue in other forms?