Steve Case Out at AOL What Does It Mean For HDTV, DVD-Audio and More? Print E-mail
Monday, 13 January 2003

Due to pressure from members of the board who were holding him personally responsible for AOL-TimeWarner’s sluggish performance, AOL-TW’s CEO, Steve Case resigned on Sunday. Case will remain on the Board. It doesn’t take a fly on the wall at one of their board meetings to figure out who Case was talking about regarding the criticism of Case’s leadership. And that same guy, Ted Turner, may very well get a shot at running the whole show.
Turner, the founder of CNN, Vice Chairman of AOL-TW and largest shareholder in the company, is on the short list to replace Case as CEO. Turner’s entrepreneurial skills would be useful in AOL-TW’s entertainment ventures. The films that Turner bought from MGM years ago and are now owned by AOL-TW would look SO MUCH better in HDTV and could be delivered to a huge audience by Time Warner digital cable. With an iron fist, Turner might demand that all WEA (Warner, Elektra and Atlantic) musical artists put out high resolution and copy protected DVD-Audio titles the same day that a CD is released. In a more radical move, he might ditch the CD all-together (if he had the nerve) in an attempt to stop the leak caused by one CD leading to 1000’s of illegal downloads. And never count out AOL-TW from trying to corner a pay-per-file downloadable music system that actually competes with the free sites on the Gnutella network. At $1 per song – they should save their efforts but as part of some sort of an AOL Premium membership – new AOL accounts would all of a sudden become appealing to music enthusiasts.

The job of merging a huge media company with a huge internet company is by anyone’s terms a tough one. By using technology currently available with a little creative energy – it may be possible to invent new ways to profit that are certainly going to please the music, film and TV enthusiast.


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