AOL launches professional division

NEW YORK (Reuters) - AOL Inc is launching a professional division called AOL Industry on Monday aimed at government, energy and defense executives.

The idea is to bring the use of social media, video and design from consumer-oriented sites and apply it to media for business professionals.

“(Trade media) hasn’t done as good a job at innovating as consumer media,” said Jay Kirsch, vice president and general manager of AOL Industry, who pitched the idea to AOL at the end of last summer.

“If you look at most of the innovations that have really changed media most of them have been consumer facing and not business-to-business.”

AOL Energy rolled out first and will be followed by AOL Government and AOL Defense in June. AOL Industry is not charging a subscription for access and will not have a print component.

AOL is moving into a crowded space dominated by several types of trade magazines as well as Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and News Corp’s Dow Jones.

“We are going to offer a social online environment that is not available elsewhere -- stealing a page a little bit from the Huffington Post and inviting industry executives to be part of the conversation as well,” Kirsch said.

Kirsch, who was the former CEO of Imaginova, the publisher of the aerospace trade website Space News, has made about eight hires so far.

Peter Gardett, the former bureau chief of Argus Media, is editor of AOL Energy.

Wyatt Kash, who recently served as editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Defense Systems, is editor of AOL Government.

Colin Clark, who covered Congress and intelligence for Space News, is AOL Defense editor.

Reporting by Jennifer Saba; Editing by Richard Chang