Time Warner's accidental video offensive
More proof arrived today that in big media companies, not only is synergy dead, but the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Today, AOL is announcing a Friday relaunch of its would-be YouTube killer, AOL Video. The revamped site will first be available as a beta, and then roll out on August 22. Meanwhile, CNN is expected to announce CNN Exchange, a section of CNN.com where users can submit their own videos.
AOL, CNN and, for that matter, The Browser are all owned by Time Warner. But the company eschews coordinated efforts between its divisions these days. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal captured Time Warner president Jeff Bewkes' feeling about synergy: "While Mr. Bewkes thinks cooperation should be encouraged, he's blunt in assessing the synergy message his predecessors preached to shareholders: "It's bull-."
And while the two video services may have surfaced on the same day, there's actually little similarity between them. AOL Video looks to be a broad, mass-market entertainment play, part of the ongoing transformation of AOL into a content provider. (Time Warner is expected to update investors on plans for its AOL division on Wednesday.) CNN Exchange hopes to collect user-filmed videos to improve its news coverage. CNN had already begun to use YouTube clips in its on-air coverage of breaking news from the Middle East, notes News.com. Now it aims to source its own videos directly from viewers.
We can only hope this means video sharing will evolve into something more redeeming than Ask a Ninja.
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