Platform A: Too little too late for AOL?

The online advertising world is abuzz this Monday morning about the press release from AOL which just crossed the wire.  Specifically, AOL announced that it will:

  1. Create a new online advertising platform, called Platform A, which will integrate the media and technologies across all of AOL's current ad networks including Advertising.com, TACODA, Third Screen Media, Lightningcast, and ADTECH
  2. Relocate its corporate headquarters to New York City

I see this announcement as further fodder for my argument that online advertising is trenching for a comeback, and moving forward will be the backbone of every marketing campaign.  Particular to AOL, I think this is interesting timing for a very aggressive move.  Leadership in the online advertising space was AOL's to lose 5 years ago and that is exactly what they did.  The decision to create an integrated marketing platform and locate themselves where the advertisers are is a great move, but is it too little too late?  Why now for AOL?  Why didn't they make a decision of this scale years ago before they fell into fourth place in the race?

My bet (reading into the New York City relocation) is that AOL is going after traditional advertising budgets with this effort.  Its not moving to the Bay Area to spar with Yahoo! and Google over existing online ad dollars.  It's looking instead to attract budgets from huge brand advertisers -- who need an alternative to poorly performing TV media -- into its new "mass media" platform.

I like the emphasis on targeting, and the promise of allowing marketers to buy their desired customer across all the media in the AOL (and ultimately Time Warner?) network.  If AOL can make good on these announced promises, it'll be (at least for a short time)in the catbird seat that every other portal also has its eye on.