August 2, 2005 4:00 AM PDT

AOL ready to reinvent itself

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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."

AOL, which owns MapQuest, AOL CityGuide and Moviefone, also announced a new music feature that lets users download free, legal MP3s from established and emerging artists, such as Tommy Lee and Interpol. The company is also lining up exclusive deals with established artists. Paul McCartney, for example, will offer his upcoming single "Fine Line" to AOL users the day before it ships.

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. new free Web-based e-mail service, which has two gigabytes of storage. The new AIM lets people manage their contact information and will enable them to make phone calls, send text messages to mobile phones, watch Internet TV and listen to online radio.

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."

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13 comments

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Lie: AOL members are switching to other dial-up providers, not broadband..
A few of the members AOL has lost have gotten broadband, but I would say over 5 million of those they've lost have switched to another dial up provider, like PeoplePC. Face it AOL, you suck and no one wants your service. Especially if it's $23.90 a month.
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Perhaps...
I swithced from AOL Dial-Up to a DSL/BB connection and then swithced my dialup to the BYOBB AOL plan. which actually ended up being $2/mo cheaper than the AOL DialUp plan.

...and, since I was able to drop my second phone line, my entire net-access/home-phone-bill costs ended up being $12.00/month cheaper overall. Great deal.

I also agree that the AOL dial-up price is outrageous, and even the BYO BB plan is high, but since I just use the AOL service as a "portal" I stayed with them. my 2cents...
Posted by Aardasp (31 comments )
Link Flag
AOL can start by reinventing AIM
AOL should first reinvent AIM to support ssl connections. Yahoo!
Messenger and others already do this. This is really a BIG flaw in
AIM's design.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
aim- wrong from the start
AOL should have improved the basic instant messenger instead of starting AIM. AIM never attracted enough members to support or improve itself. Why pay that much extra for a few extra options? Even those were almost matched by the basic instant messenger. Aim did not help itself by using pop ups for whoever paid them. "Paid them" refers to AIM being a bit too independent of AOL- did not provide what AOL needed, only what AIM employees wanted.
Posted by (5 comments )
Link Flag
AOL has yet to learn....
... that the quantity of garbage offered does not equate to quality,
AOL drew the newbies. But as the newbies got smart, AOL quickly
could be seen as a loser. It didn't take low cost broadband to start
the defection from AOL, but it did help. There will always be gross
neophites who are attracted like moths to the AOL glow, but there
are fewer of them every day. And they are learning faster now. So
the defections will continue, maybe even at an accelerated rate.
That will make life rough for AOL, but that's the way life goes.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL reinventing itself-fraud?
I received an email- could not be AOL because AOL
always tells that AOL official Emaiis to be read- ignore the rest. Second- Jon Miller was the SUPPOSED sender of the email- cannot trust him to be or not be whatever. He is a very tricky guy involved and not involved in AOL's 9.0 and AOL's
partnership with McAfee's fake spy scan in AOL's
Spyware Protection, and the fake Spy Zapper AOL uses.About everything Jon Miller touches is a fraud. If AOL has been short money, Jon Miller is the one to look at.I recommend that AOL members click report spam anytime anything comes from Jon Miller. Bad times always come after Jon Miller says anything.
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL -
I have broadband AND DSL -- and I'm not the only one. There is a reason AOL is #1 people -- and you can whine and complain all you want about AOL. We sit back and smile because we know that you can't please everyone. Remember - you are in the minority
Posted by DebsSweet (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
New AOL??
It's new web-mail service isn't too bad. I took it up because as a member of netscape.net, I would soon not have an aol connected account.
It's not too bad and will be downloadable to your PC at some date, not too far in the future ... I hope.
For a basic web-mail program it's not too bad but as always with AOL it's tricky to gain access to it ... so far, the only fault with it so far but then I've only had it a week.

Anne
Posted by Whitesnake (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL ready to reinvent itself
AOL's only problem with customer base loss is it's failier to respond to it's customer base. AOL refuses to rectify situations in chats and message boards; ans it also refuses contact with English first language reps.
Posted by vgraybeard (35 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL - others
Want the cheapest ISP you can find? Great - and remember when you do that, you always get exactly what you pay for.
Posted by DebsSweet (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why I hate AOL
1) The AOL browser is very heavy program. AOL is really for grandpa or grandma who just know how to use computer. The most annoying thing for me is how I can not make the window maximized all the tiem. AND Oh please, i don't need two browsers in my computer.
2) AOL is pushing the ads on your eyes. They put headline that looks like an article or news that is helpful for you to read, but they are really advertisement. This is the worst kind of spam. If you want to put ads, i found google is the most polite way to offer things.
3) Internet is meant to be open for all. Their exclusive content is almost laughable. Who needs AOL membership just to get something that other website gives for free ?
Posted by Lyong (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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