Talk about burying the lede. The New York Times today reports on the latest regarding AOL’s long, slow slide into oblivion. Near the end is this:
Other ideas include closing Patch, AOL’s local news initiative that has reporters in 850 towns. Eliminating the money-losing service would free $160 million and lift AOL into profitability.
AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong insists he’s not going to abandon his strategy of transforming the service into a profitable content-provider. But the Huffington Post side of things brings in so many more visitors, with fewer employees, that you really have to wonder how long he and his shareholders can resist the urge to close Patch.
Not to repeat myself (OK, to repeat myself), but I don’t wish Patch ill. Given that it is hiring young and some not-so-young journalists, I’d like to see it find a profitable place in the local-news media ecosystem. But it’s never been clear how Patch can make money. Business Insider has been especially withering, but its negative outlook is hardly unique.