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New AOL Hire To Lead New York Technology Center

AOL.jpgAOL made a pair of big announcements today — including a new acquisition and a new hire — and revealed that it’s searching for a new chief technology officer.

First, the new stand-alone online company announced that it had acquired StudioNow, an online video platform, for $36.5 million. The new acquisition will be folded into AOL’s, integrating video content into the site that searches the Internet for what people want to read and assigns those pieces to freelancers. Said CEO Tim Armstrong:

“Premium original video creation is a fundamental part of AOL’s strategy to offer consumers world-class, stimulating content at scale and the integration of StudioNow into will enable us to increase our video content/offerings significantly.”

AOL’s second announcement revealed a new hire: Jeff Reynar, who has been brought on as head of technology for engineering and products. Reynar will oversee the company’s new New York-based “Technology Center,” and work on innovation for the company’s content development business.

Reynar worked at Google and Microsoft before co-founding DBT Labs, “a company that built a social search service,” AOL said. No doubt his social search experience will help expand the reach and capabilities of Seed.

Additionally, AOL mentioned that it’s currently on the search for a new CTO, since the current chief, Ted Cahall, “has decided to move on from AOL and will be transitioning the company to a new CTO.”

Full release about Reynar’s hiring after the jump

Read more: Press release: AOL Acquires StudioNow

Previously: Saul Hansell Leaves New York Times For AOL

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Saul Hansell Leaves New York Times For AOL

hansell.190.jpgToday is just the day for former print people to move on over to the other (digital) side: first was MaryAnn Bekkedahl from Rodale Inc., and now New York Times tech writer Saul Hansell is leaving his Bits blog behind to be the first announced staffer on AOL‘s, a new “content managing platform.”

Hansell has worked for the Times for 17 years, and for for two. AOL has been expanding its niche blog structure lately, and has been on somewhat of a hiring frenzy, though ironically it’s still looking to trim 1/3 of its workforce.

Read More: Official Announcement: I’m Going to AOL –Saul Hansell’s blog

AOL Creates Content, Jobs, But At What Cost?

urlesque.jpgWhile some people might still equate AOL with that ridiculously antiquated CD-Rom that came in the mail, hideous dial-up noises and the phrase “You’ve Got Mail!” from their childhood, the media company has been working to reinvent itself in the last several years as a major producer of Web content. You may not even know it, but some of your favorite Web sites are AOL-owned, such as Urlesque, Stylelist and, yes, even TMZ…along with 67 other niche sites.

The company has also been hiring teams of freelancers to produce original content for its sites at a time when most media companies are cutting back, putting them in a unique position: AOL can produce original news without having to aggregate it from other sources. (However, despite its hiring blitz, AOL is still seeking to trim about a third of its staff in order to cut its budget for the new year.)

And now it’s time, says AOL’s CEO Tim Armstrong, to start raking in the cash from this production after its split from Time Warner next month, through the use of an automated system that will tell editors and advertisers which content should draw the biggest audience.

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