Graham Moysey to lead AOL Canada

AOL wants to expand its presence in Canada by creating new content channels and developing a hyper-local presence, Moysey explains.

Back in the mid-1990s, AOL installation disks were a common sight in mailboxes across Canada, offering people a combined email, browsing and IM service that many used as an introduction to the home-internet experience.

And while consumers’ surfing habits and networks have changed vastly since then – and AOL is no longer synonymous with web browsing – the brand is still present in Canada with numerous web properties such as MapQuest and that collectively reach almost 9 million unique visitors each month.

But AOL wants to expand its presence in Canada, both in terms of revenue and product offerings, and has named former Canwest and Bell Canada/ exec Graham Moysey as general manager of its Canadian operations.

‘AOL is a brand that resonates with everybody – it’s one of the grandfathers of the internet brands,’ Moysey tells MiC. ‘You’re going to see a concerted effort by the Canadian operation to increase both consumer and trade marketing to ensure that there’s no confusion around the growth of this organization as a really strong media player.’

Development deals in the works include the creation of content channels targeting Toronto and exporting its Canadian content to some of the larger channels based in the US.

A big opportunity in Canada is hyper-local content, says Moysey. In the US, AOL recently launched a network called the Patch, which is a collection of more than 500 community news sites. Although plans have not yet been announced for a similar strategy in Canada, a look at AOL’s operations worldwide indicate it might not be far off, Moysey says.

‘I think if you took a look at some of the forthcoming plans for AOL in the US and to a certain degree the UK, there’s an intent to seed journalists across much smaller communities and to create hyper-local content and, of course, monetize that accordingly,’ Moysey explains. ‘I think that’s a really neat and compelling business opportunity.’