Verizon just bought AOL’s “global multiscreen network platform”

aolHoly cow. A phone company bought the original Internet content company. This has to have some broader significance.

Look in the obligatory press release and you find . . . nothing. Except for some indigestible chunks of verbiage (thanks to Barak Kassar for pointing this out):

. . . the combination of Verizon and AOL creates a scaled, mobile-first platform offering directly targeted at what eMarketer estimates is a nearly $600 billion global advertising industry. AOL’s key assets include . . .  its millennial-focused OTT [over-the-top], Emmy-nominated original video content; and its programmatic advertising platforms.

Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO, said: “Verizon’s vision is to provide customers with a premium digital experience based on a global multiscreen network platform. This acquisition supports our strategy to provide a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers to deliver that premium customer experience.”

He added, “. . .  At Verizon, we’ve been strategically investing in emerging technology, including Verizon Digital Media Services and OTT, that taps into the market shift to digital content and advertising. . . .

Welcome to Tomorrowland! My favorite bit here is the “premium digital experience based on a global multiscreen network platform.” Go into your local Verizon store and ask to buy one of those. (More analysis in the Google Doc).

To understand this release, you need additional insight into OTT or “over the top”, which Jim Edwards of Business Insider neatly provides. Here’s my translation:

Short version: The traditional TV delivery world in which Verizon FiOS competes is exploding. People keep watching bits of video promoted on social networks on their mobile devices. AOL has properties that can succeed in that world like its original video productions and Huffington Post, so Verizon bought it. We couldn’t let Netflix take over the world without a fight.

Photo: Archigeek via Flickr

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