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Aug 27th 2012

AOLer Andreas Turanski Talks Moviefone and Social Engineering

Since joining the AOL Technology team over two and half years ago, Andreas Turanski has worked on a variety of different projects – both big and small. But one he's particularly passionate about is creating a tightly-knit engineering culture in New York City that reflects the startup/small company background he came from and embodies a similar experience that already exists in AOL's Dulles campus.

"I wanted to help AOL NYC Engineers from my teams and other teams to get to know each other as a social group and as resources," said Andreas. "I floated the idea to engineers and engineering leaders in a bunch of these teams and virtually everyone liked the idea so I made it one of my missions to kick-off a NYC AOL Engineering mixer. I also talked with the head of the Cultural Ambassador Program that I'm involved with about funding the events." How'd he do? We'll come back to that in a minute.

In his "day" job, Andreas is a Senior Tech Director who works on AOL's Entertainment verticals and sites like Moviefone, AOL Music, Winamp, and AOL HD / AOL ON. Collaborating with the General Managers, Product Managers, and designers of the sites, Andreas and his four engineering teams work to build the best experiences for our users that will make an impact. This includes rebuilding the backend of sites to deliver a more flexible structure to pull in the best, least expensive data providers, a recent win accomplished with the new backend for the AOL Music site and Winamp.

When working on a project, Andreas' main priorities are to create reusable systems with a great and consistent user experience. "We're always trying to make a systems that can be reused by other teams in ways that we don't even envision while making sure we get them delivered quickly. This is often done by having an API (application programming interface) that defines how to access the service that our other groups can use. This makes code more maintainable, so if one thing changes in the background, the front end doesn't have to change. For instance, we're going to re-use the backend that we just built for AOL Music and Winamp as the backend for Moviefone after some enhancements."

An avid cyclist and vegan, Andreas spends much of his time outside of AOL doing non-profit work around causes that promote civil rights and animal protection. Raised in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, Andreas continues to be surprised by the new things he discovers exploring his ever-changing hometown, but it's his son who brings him the most inspiration. "I am continually proud of my son, as I watch and help him grow and develop as an amazing person."

At one point in his AOL career, Andreas ran the AOL Social, Community, & Identity engineering team where they built the current commenting platform and AOL Share. Using his knowledge of the needs from the site side helped inform what was built on the platform side. Andreas continues to dabble in community engagement with his team as they test different programs on their sites like enhancing how we let Moviefone users make events to see specific movies to share with their social circles.

And the mixers? What started out as a gathering of 15 engineers and tech staff has now multiplied into a large community where sharing knowledge while socializing thrives, but Andreas does not plan to stop there. "We'll need to continue working on this and make it a steady part of the NYC AOL Engineering social fabric. Next is to get more teams involved, after which I promised I'd do a shot at the mixer!"

(AOLers, including Chief Technology Officer Curtis Brown (far right), attend a mixer.)

Jul 10th 2012

Joystiq Relaunches Mobile Site


Joystiq
, the definitive source for video game news and information, relaunched its mobile site at m.joystiq.com, optimized for all mobile phones to browse. Readers can take a swipe at the top bar of highlighted stories or browse news, read reviews, play videos, listen to podcasts, comment through Livefyre and hop through screenshot galleries. Learn more about the relaunch by reading a blog post from Joystiq's Editor-in-Chief, Ludwig Kietzmann.

Learn more about AOL's mobile offerings from your favorite brands like The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Moviefone, SHOUTcast, Engadget and more by clicking here.

Jun 22nd 2012

Moviefone Celebrates Summer with Free Movie Ticket Giveaway

Moviefone.com is celebrating summer with the launch of our Hot Summer Movie Ticket Giveaway. Beginning today, Moviefone.com will be giving away 1,000 free movie tickets each week through August 31st. To win free movie tickets, visit moviefone.com/promotions or "Like" Moviefone's Facebook page, enter your information and play our Spin-to-Win game to find out if you've won instant tickets. Each time you play, you are entered to win our grand prize of free movie tickets for a year! Entries are limited to one per person each day, however, people can enter every single day to win. Users can share the sweepstakes with their social networks and through email to give their friends a chance to win as well. The value of the ticket is up to $12 and can be used at just about every major movie theater throughout the nation.

Moviefone.com's Summer Movie Ticket Giveaway is the perfect way to kick off a summer full of much-anticipated movies. Get ready for your favorite films and big summer blockbusters by getting in on the free action!

Jun 15th 2012

On the Go: Living the Mobile Life with Mandar Shinde

As more and more consumers start to make their mobile devices their primary devices, AOL has adjusted to these changing times with new products and solutions for a mobile first audience. Mobile apps have been at the forefront of a number of product launches, creating unique mobile experiences like Editions, Engadget Distro, AOL.com for iPad, the soon to be released Huffington. and new versions of Winamp and Moviefone.

Leading the charge to make sure all of these products are effectively monetized with our brand advertisers is Head of Monetization for AOL Mobile, Mandar Shinde. AOL is the 4th largest mobile property in the US*, and the work of Mandar and the AOL Mobile team is responsible for that reach, and ensuring AOL capitalizes on the Mobile marketplace.

Why does AOL put such a focus on mobile? Mandar thinks the opportunity and the timing is finally right, which can be seen in its increasing popularity: "There are more than 100 million smartphones in the US already creating more broadband connections on these smartphones than home broadband connections. There are probably 40 to 50 million tablets that are continuously replacing home desktop usage."

Mandar is aware that as users move to these screens, its imperative advertising will move to these screens – at end of the day it's a reach and frequency game, and that will never change. Mobile also provides a new set of tools that will cause both branders and performance buyers to reach this audience and goal themselves differently. Tools that desktop never had like calling, calendaring, and mapping. For example, Mandar knows that Mapquest on desktop is a planning tool while on Mobile it's a navigational utility – each attracting a different set of advertisers (desktop being more CPG/Brand centric before the purchase cycle and Mobile being more local driven to find a local food chain or a local hotel chain).

In his role focused on monetization, it's imperative that products meet the needs of advertisers and marketers as well. "With a personal device that goes with the consumer everywhere, it's just a matter of time before advertisers will find the right mix to reach their audience on the go. Mobile users tend to have a specific purpose (directions, food, etc.) or snacky behaviors (airport, subway, etc.) along with their ability to know their location. Contextual , and emotionally driven advertising becomes a logical fit sooner than later."

What trends should we expect in 2012? Mandar is putting his money on the continued growth of the tablet as a dominant home device. "We can expect close to 125 to 140 million smartphones in the US alone by the end of 2012, and around 75 to 100 million tablets to go with them. I think the release of Windows 8 will make an impact with the amount of developer base they will bring to Mobile and finally put some pressure on iOS and Android."

Along with being intimately involved in the development of AOL's Mobile products, Mandar is an active user of them as well (along with his young son): "I love our Distro and Moviefone Apps for iPad. Distro is awesome. Being a geek and a follower of 'show me the new hottest thing', Distro is awesome for me to download every Friday, and then consume in mass quantities when I am flying up/down the coast. Moviefone on the iPad on the other hand is just a natural tablet design that makes one think if all products could be designed so.... simply! My 3 yea- old has even figured how to get movie trailers to play! We are in the middle of an industrial design change and Apple is really driving it but there will be more players"

As you can see, Mandar's family is extremely important to him. Ask him, and he'll tell you how they inspire him to be better: "I love spending time with my son - observing him learn and grow makes me wiser every day. He just started his pre-K and swimming classes, so there is plenty to keep me very happily busy."

"My wife taught me that one can follow their hobbies keenly while keeping their career path intact (she is an engineer manager by profession but managed to follow her hobby and made it a second career as a stock photography model before our first child). She really put the ball out of the park when she did her first half marathon after our child was born (for someone who hated running). She has taught me that there is always time for personal achievements and work/life balance remains key."

Learn more about the products and services Mandar and the rest of the AOL Mobile team work on at http://mobile.aol.com/.

*comScore Media Metrix - Mobilens, March 2012; based on custom category built by AOL

May 25th 2012

Moviefone Presents Los Angeles Street Food Cinema Series


We're happy to announce that Moviefone will be the presenting sponsor of Street Food Cinema, the ultimate movie, music and food summer event series in Los Angeles. The Street Food Cinema summer event series features outdoor movies, gourmet food trucks and music from emerging Los Angeles musicians every Saturday this summer from Memorial Day Weekend thru Labor Day weekend. Movies will be presented with cinema quality sound and projection on a screen that is 40 feet wide by 22 feet high!

Learn more about the event and view the complete summer schedule here. We've also recently partnered with Fandango to offer even more ticketing options to help you get to your favorite summer movies. Learn about this partnership here.

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