AOL CEO Tim Armstrong: Online Company Was in Workout Mode in Q3

"Summer Sprints" were designed to get firm into shape and focus it on "playing offense"

NEW YORK - "AOL is a great long-term investment," chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong told investors Wednesday, and he used all sorts of sports and workout references to highlight that the online company continues to get in better shape as the end of the year approaches.

This summer, management made sure to re-energize AOL's entrepreneurial spirit and accelerate the firm's turnaround via "The Summer Sprints," a program that focused on getting 12 major projects going that have improved certain offers, such as the redesigned AOL.com homepage and a new video player.

"We made a big decision to jump out of bed, put on our sweats and head straight to the gym and the track to start a fairly intense rehab and training program," he told Wall Street analysts on the company's third-quarter earnings conference call.

As a result, AOL is "fully focused on playing offense" and launching new products and services, he also highlighted. Overall, that means AOL is looking to finally overcome self-inflicted problems of the past and getting "into the self-inflicted growth business."

Armstrong also signalled that AOL's advertising growth should start to come in line with the broader market by the back half of 2011. He highlighted that Google and Facebook are winning market share in the display ad space now, and his team wants to also step things up and succeed as "a championship-level organization."
Armstrong said that video content and video ad sales are a particular focus though.

And he hinted at further hiring and possible acquisitions, saying AOL will be "an investment company" next year.
As far as possible deals go though, he once again emphasized though that he plans "no hail mary" moves and wants to only do deals that bring in "significant talent" that would stick around.

AOL posted a third-quarter that more than doubled, partly due to sales of stakes in other firms.
Revenue declined 26% to $563.5 million with ad revenue falling 27%.

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