Falco Hire Good for AOL

Merrill Lynch media analyst Jessica Reif Cohen reiterated her “buy” rating on Time Warner, pointing to the recent hire of former NBC Universal TV executive Randy Falco as chairman and CEO of its AOL unit. Reif Cohen wrote in a research report that Falco's expertise in television and advertising jibes with the online giant's transition to an advertising-supported model.

Falco, replacing Jonathan Miller, most recently served as president and chief operating officer of NBC's broadcasting and cable networks. That expertise could be especially valuable given the increasing importance of video content on the Internet.

Reif Cohen saw the hire as a strong signal that the AOL transition is on track and could also suggest that Time Warner Inc. is serious when it claims the Internet unit is not for sale.