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"The key is to do what we did with music—listen to what consumers tell us about what they're interested in doing online, create features and programming franchises that deliver it to them, and work with the industry to make a powerful platform to promote new products and build brands.
entertainment categories."
——Kevin Conroy

AOL'S NEW DIVISION: THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!

Conroy to Head Unit Overseeing Music, Movies, TV, Gaming and Tickets, But Not Strippers
Don’t tell Kevin Conroy there’s a dot-com backlash.

The man who piloted AOL Music to prominence has been named SVP and General Manager of Entertainment atop a new AOLTW unit, AOL Entertainment Group. He’ll now also have movies, TV, ticketing (that’d be the new AOL Box Office) and games under his bailiwick. According to a release, "Conroy will be charged with creating unique ‘must have’ content for consumers and marketers alike across these entertainment categories."

The new division is being assembled under the eye of AOL Interactive Services Prexy and radio veteran Jimmy de Castro.

As AOLTW’s stock has plunged, much hand-wringing has ensued over the faltering ideal of media "synergy," especially given the recent, sudden ouster of Co-COO Bob Pittman. Press coverage of the conglom has emphasized the return of "traditional media" figures like newly tapped co-COOs Don Logan (of Time Inc.) and Jeff Bewkes (HBO) to leadership roles. But Conroy has escaped the taint of the new-media meltdown, building AOL Music as a brand and clocking ever-larger user numbers for its offerings.

AOL Music’s VP in charge of marketing, programming and promotions, Bill Wilson, has been named VP/GM, assuming Conroy's former post.

Conroy assumed control of AOL Music in January 2001, having formerly served at BMG.

"I'm really excited to have the opportunity to extend to the success of AOL Music and Radio to Games, Movies, Television and Ticketing," said Conroy. "The key is to do what we did with music—listen to what consumers tell us about what they're interested in doing online, create features and programming franchises that deliver it to them, and work with the industry to make a powerful platform to promote new products and build brands.

We're regularly debuting songs before radio and videos before the networks and most recently worked with Columbia Records and Bruce Springsteen to debut the first four singles from his new album," Conroy added. "That says a lot about how far we've come and what we can do."

"We have had a tremendous year in music, with an amazing response to programs like First Listen and [email protected]," Wilson chimed in. "We will continue building on this momentum, offering even more exclusive content for consumers and working closely with all of our label and artist partners to continue to help break new artists, and promote and sell music. We are looking forward to introducing new enhancements this fall with the launch of AOL 8.0 and much more beyond."

In a related story, HITS editors, too, are hard at work creating "must have" content—as in "must have smoked too much pot before editing that."

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