August 2, 2005 4:00 AM PDT
AOL ready to reinvent itself
- Related Stories
My AOL beta unveiledJuly 28, 2005
AOL dials up Web search for mobile phonesJuly 26, 2005
Broadband's bargain huntJuly 20, 2005
Another worm hits AIM usersJuly 14, 2005
AOL, XM join for live content ventureJuly 12, 2005
AOL to increase personal control over contactsJuly 6, 2005
Live Aid for the Internet ageJuly 2, 2005
AOL launches video search serviceJune 30, 2005
AIM e-mail debutsJune 6, 2005
AOL goes high-speed, againJune 2, 2005
AOL tests Triton IM softwareMay 3, 2005
AOL tests waters for dial-up price cutApril 27, 2005
AOL to buy Time Warner in historic mergerJanuary 10, 2000
(continued from previous page)
or which they can efficiently produce."
AOL plans to dig deep into the wide variety of content available at the various Time Warner properties, which include HBO, CNN, People Magazine and Sports Illustrated, said AOL's Conroy. AOL is also working with Warner Bros. for movies and TV. Those sibling connections and AOL's still-large customer base give it a certain advantage over rivals, said Gerry Davidson, senior media analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings.
A portal for all comers
AOL's new portal features a main page with Web and video search, news headlines, movie listings links, and links to e-mail and AOL Instant Messenger services. Users can also create customized RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds of news and other content on a new My AOL page.
"With the addition of RSS feeds to the My AOL home page, AOL now offers a compelling alternative for a start page for many people," Chris Sherman wrote last week in a SearchEngineWatch article.
A major focus is multimedia. The new portal features a video page optimized for broadband content, with on-demand videos as well as clips from movies, TV, music and news, and exclusive concerts and live feeds. Its video search service offers access to more than 15,000 licensed and originally produced assets.
In early July, AOL hosted the Live 8 series of concerts, which attracted "double-digit millions" of viewers--"a new record in terms of peak simultaneous usage, we think, for any event on the Internet," AOL's Bankoff said.
"Live 8 was a watershed online video event," said Tim Hanlon, director of emerging contacts for Starcom MediaVest Group. "Once the concert is over, this thing is living on for weeks afterward in an on-demand way...No television network does that and no movie studio does that."
In addition, AOL is beefing up its communications services. It's beta testing a new version of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), the most popular chat program with more than 40 million active monthly subscribers.
AOL subscribers will be paying for customer support, security features such as antispam, anti-spyware, antivirus and parental controls, and access to more than 200 radio channels at a higher quality and with no commercials, Bankoff said.
"It's a high-risk, high-reward situation," said Gartner analyst Weiner. "Everything looks really good, and everything performs well. The question will be: Can they convince the public they are truly moving away from a proprietary business and becoming a competitor to Yahoo, MSN and Google? They have to convince people that this is going to be their primary business."
13 commentsJoin the conversation! Add your comment