Profile: Lisa Hooks

Apr 9, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Title: President of AOL Mobile, America Online Inc. Ms. Hooks joined America Online as senior vice president of AOL Mobile last year. Before that she was a partner at Brera Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm focused on media and telecommunications investments. Earlier she was a special adviser to the vice chairman of Time Warner, where she developed and oversaw international joint ventures, including the launch of HBO in Europe and Asia.
Wireless carriers’ burst balloon: “I think it’s affecting our efforts in a positive way. Last year, when we launched the mobile division of AOL [in February], the carriers were very optimistic about owning the Internet. They did not view partnering with AOL as remotely interesting. Now that the market has shifted and people are being more realistic about their core competencies, we’ve found them easier to work with. So we’re more optimistic. I’m not at all worried about the future of wireless. We’ve had a correction. The carriers themselves are very strong. And in the U.S. we’re just at the start of tremendous growth.”
Top goal: “My primary job this year is to get our Mobile Communicator-a two-way messaging device with e-mail and instant messaging services-a higher penetration rate, and look at whether it makes sense to introduce additional functionality. Cingular Wireless is the only U.S. carrier it’s launched on to date, though we also have an agreement with [paging company] Arch Communications. We have not made the penetration figures available publicly.
“The focus group work we’ve done has shown that it’s a pretty addictive product, so it’s able to be marketed in a viral sense by getting it into the hands of taste makers-folks who are in the public eye. It has already been demonstrated on TV and given away at the Grammys. Rosie O’Donnell gave it away to folks in her audience on her birthday. We got a lot of publicity from that giveaway and tied this offline press opportunity to online promotion, tying it to where you could get the product.
“The WB’s `Gilmore Girls’ is using the Mobile Communicator as part of their story line on the season finale episode on May 10.”
Other projects: “We’re continuing to upgrade our mobile data portal and gaining additional distribution on carriers such as VoiceStream. Outside the U.S. we have WAP [wireless application protocol] portals in Canada, the U.K., Germany, France and Hong Kong.”