By Mike Shields - wsj.com
February 3, 2016
PATCHED UP: Tim Armstrong
may have had the right idea and just the wrong execution. Not only is the AOL CEO's former pet project Patch back from the dead, but it's also growing and profitable
. How did this happen? When AOL sold a majority stake in Patch to Hale Global two years ago, the turnaround specialist sought to completely rethink Patch's bloated business model, reports CMO Today. "Our job was to fix what made this such a money-losing business," said Hale Global CEO Charlie Hale. For starters, that meant cutting Patch's staff down from 540 under AOL to under 100. Now, Patch claims it's pulling in more traffic than it did during the AOL era with one-tenth as many editors. To be fair, Patch doesn't have the breadth and depth it once had (much of its audience is concentrated in the Northeast). But the fact that it's still breathing when so many had given up on local digital content is rather remarkable. AOL still owns a minority stake in Patch. And to his credit Mr. Armstrong says he's been impressed with Hale Global, calling them "excellent operators."
Mike Shields at email@example.com