January 31, 2005 8:55 AM PST

Time Warner packages AOL with Road Runner

Time Warner said Monday that it will begin offering free America Online accounts to customers of its Road Runner broadband Internet service in an effort to attract new subscribers and garner more advertising dollars.

The media conglomerate said the package will offer a custom version of AOL to paying customers of Road Runner, which is marketed by AOL's Time Warner Cable subsidiary. The move comes after years of speculation that Time Warner was working on ways to combine the strengths of its various Internet service provider businesses, and arrives after several rounds of redesigns to the Road Runner home page in an effort to make the service more customer-friendly.

Time Warner said that both subsidiaries will push to move existing subscribers to the new offering in the coming months. In addition to the specially created version of AOL, which will be tailored specifically for broadband users, the package will include 10 hours of monthly dial-up Internet service.

The company said the broadband package is expected to roll out over the course of the next several months. Road Runner will continue to be made available as a stand-alone service for subscribers who aren't interested in adding AOL.

Pricing for the combined package will depend on customers' connection speeds. Time Warner said it will test a number of price points as part of its initial rollout. AOL will sell advertising for both the new offering and RoadRunner.com. Time Warner Cable will manage billing and customer care for broadband services.

Don Logan, chairman of Time Warner's Media & Communications Group, which oversees both business units, said the combination of the AOL portal with Road Runner's ISP services should improve the company's chances of drawing new broadband Internet customers.

"Time Warner Cable should accelerate its acquisition of high-speed data subscribers, while AOL should enhance the lifetime value of its member base and maximize its revenues from online advertising, search, commerce and premium services," Logan said in a statement.

Under the effort, the cable business will provide an unspecified share of subscriber revenue generated by the program to AOL, which will in turn give a piece of its advertising, search and other revenues to Time Warner Cable. The company said AOL also will begin looking to market additional services to Road Runner subscribers. Time Warner said the two subsidiaries will combine marketing efforts to help promote the package.

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So is it free or not?
This article says Time Warner is offering free AOL accounts, then it says they are going to offer different pricing packages.

I'm clearly confused.
Posted by (1 comment )
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When......it freezes over I'll pay extra.
The systematic departure of the old AOL leadership is the best thing to happen to AOL and TW. They might have gotten a lot of people to sign-up for dial-up. However they never understood they weren't actually the trend or the thing people were going online for.

They have failed to make AOL for broadband something anybody wants to pay for, so now they'll find another excuse to repackage the same failed idea.

I'm still waiting for the day when they PAY ME to use AOL. I have never had more computer systems messed up by a single program than with AOL. Maybe its me, but it seems like every single time an old version of their software is replaced, my old copy "suddenly" starts having problems. The only safe AOL upgrade, is one that comes a year after they've fixed the bugs from the current version-if even then.

Trying to foist it off as something to pay for, in addition to paying too much for TW broadband? Thats a joke.

AOL without dial-up is what the rest of the world calls a "web site." I'm sure they'll find some cute term for it.


NWLB
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Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
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why the hell would i do that???
I'm a roadrunner customer and there is no way in hell that I would EVER, EVER, put that **** on my computer (AOL crap). I don't care if I was being paid to use it, I still would not put that crap on any computer that I owned.
Posted by (20 comments )
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It's about time.
I don't use Road Runner and I would never go anywhere near AOL, but it's kind of like a three-years-later "freaking DUH already." Verizon's given me free MSN Premium for a few years now and plans to add free Yahoo! Premium content later this year. If Time Warner weren't so stupid they would have done this years ago, and made special package free with paid options available. But, noooo... Time Warner was too stupid. Shouldn't have let AOL buy you if you weren't going to actually make something useful out of the deal.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
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OK, I'm officially nervous...
The following line in the story did give me some comfort:

"Road Runner will continue to be made available as a stand-alone service for subscribers who aren't interested in adding AOL."

But I'm still nervous. I fear the day the big-business geniuses of AOL/TW take away standalone Road Runner, and force everyone to use AOL. I have practically *no* other broadband services in my area--but I'd rather use dial-up than use that garbage.

As someone who uses the internet constantly, and who runs a web site, the very mention of "AOL"--in any context--pisses me off. I can't stand the company, I can't stand the users, I can't stand the software, I can't stand the endless stream of CDs in my mailbox, I can't stand the TV commercials, and I can't stand their idiotic proxies mishandling my web server.
Posted by TimeBomb (70 comments )
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AOL is a laugh -- or a groan, I guess. I have it. I hate it. Newest version now kind of sorts my mail -- open letter A and see contents of letter B.Read letter C, delete it and you may lose letter E. And, no help from AOL.
So, T/W plus AOL = ZIP/NADA/UGHly
Posted by archytech (1 comment )
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