David Shing, better known as AOL’s “digital prophet” Shingy, can’t stop smiling about his company’s acquisition by American telecommunications giant Verizon for $4.4 billion. Quartz tracked down Shingy in Mumbai, India, where he is attending a marketing conference, to get his thoughts about the deal.
Clad in all-black attire and sipping on tea and sparkling mineral water, Shingy said he was ecstatic and called the combination of Verizon and AOL a “unique” transaction. (Sources have said that his job at AOL is safe.) Here are edited excerpts from the conversation:
What’s your take on Verizon buying AOL?
I think it is a lovely surprise. It’s interesting that this is a company that has access to 1.5 billion connected devices and is now buying a company that builds content. And the two together is pretty amazing. So I think it is a very proud day for us. Because its a combination of what we do: content, advertising, social, video. It’s pretty cool, man. Very unique.
I am really happy, and I am trying not to smirk so much. And why I am happy is that this will be a game changer on the context of how we can get brands to people and people to brands. It changes the landscape for us and that is very refreshing.
Verizon touches 70% of the internet population, and that’s huge. We are excited that this partnership is an authentic marriage. It is the right time and right place, man. It is amazing that two amazing brands are coming together. I am super excited.
For Verizon, what do you think was more attractive: AOL’s advertising technology or the content and brands?
There are two parts to it: culture and code. The code part of it is the infrastructure, the digital technology, and the other side is all the brands that we own: TechCrunch, Engadget, and Huffington Post. We are unique that way as an organization. I think it’s a combination of all that makes us super attractive.
What do you think will happen to the media brands? Will they be sold off?
I don’t know, and I can’t comment on that since I am not in that division. Also, I am India right now. As far as I know, it is euphoria around the agreement and what will happen, but I can’t really comment.
What’s unique about AOL’s advertising technology?
We have access to an amazing net of publishers. So, a lot of the advertising that is soaked up by the planet is using our pipes, it is not just one focused destination. It is based on a lot of context. That’s the combination we have.
Who is your biggest competitor?
Anybody on the web. Anybody who is getting an eyeball from somebody else and whoever has the attention of the consumer. But we are not competing with television; we are complementing it. It is just a competition for attention.