America Online Launches AOL For Broadband.
DULLES, Virg.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 31, 2003
New "Bring Your Own Access" Pricing Includes Special Value for Current AOL Members
New Agreements with ABC News, MLB.com, and Univision Add to Value of Exclusive Programming
New AOL 8.0 Plus Creates More Compelling Broadband Experience
America Online, Inc., the world's leading interactive services company, today announced the beginning of a major campaign to grow membership and usage of its AOL(R) for Broadband service. The new initiative is built around four key elements:
-- The Company's first-ever marketing campaign for broadband,
featuring new television advertising, a new deal with Infinity
Broadcasting's 183 radio stations, and a 50-city mobile
-- New pricing that highlights the value of AOL for Broadband
using a "bring your own access" (BYOA(TM)) plan, including
special incentives for AOL members who upgrade to broadband
-- A range of new content agreements and cornerstone programming
initiatives that add to AOL's leadership in providing
exclusive, on-demand, and compelling online programming --
with offerings that would cost more than $50 per month if
purchased separately; and
-- The introduction this week of AOL(R) 8.0 Plus with features
designed to further optimize the broadband experience by
focusing on what members want most: help to get what they want
online effortlessly; enhanced communications tools; a safer
Internet experience; and even more robust entertainment
AOL for Broadband is available to consumers nationwide over any high-speed connection, as well as through bundled plans offered in partnership with leading cable and DSL providers. Currently, approximately 2.7 million U.S. AOL members use the AOL for Broadband service despite little marketing to date for broadband and none for the "bring your own access" option.
The service offers the Internet's best selection of multimedia content -- such as CD-quality radio, and video clips including movie trailers, sports highlights, and live news reports -- all seamlessly integrated with AOL's hallmark easy-to-use features such as AOL Mail, Instant Messenger(TM) and the Buddy List(R) feature plus the best safety and security features in the industry, including AOL Parental Controls.
Jon Miller, AOL's Chairman and CEO, said: "Our business is all about giving our members what they want, and they increasingly want to move into the high-speed world. That's why we're so strongly focused on delivering a compelling broadband experience that provides real value, and on bringing it to the market in an exciting and enticing way. This package of initiatives is the beginning of an effort that will continue to grow over the coming year and beyond. Make no mistake about it - AOL is in the broadband game and we're in it to win."
Lisa Hook, President of AOL for Broadband, said: "With our dedicated marketing, new pricing, expanded content and enhanced features, AOL for Broadband is on the move. Nobody can match what AOL offers broadband consumers, because no one else has AOL's ability to create unique and compelling interactive experiences, our wealth of exclusive content, or our commitment to listening to consumers and delivering real value to them. With our BYOA service, we're available anyplace consumers want us, and can market aggressively to the millions of consumers who already have broadband connections -- whether or not they're already AOL members."
Marketing Broadband to Mass Market
At the heart of AOL's stepped-up broadband push is a multifaceted marketing campaign designed to reach AOL members and consumers through multiple channels with the message that AOL for Broadband brings your high-speed Internet connection to life and introduces a new tagline, "Welcome to the World Wide Wow." The AOL for Broadband marketing campaign is aimed at current and potential broadband users no matter how or from whom they get their high-speed connection.
The centerpiece of these efforts is an aggressive national television advertising campaign, with a series of fun and irreverent commercials created by BBD&O that debuted last week during the broadcast of the Academy Awards(R). The first ad features Sharon Stone saying a romantic goodbye to her off-screen paramour -- AOL's Running Man icon. Another ad spoofs the opening scene of "The Six Million Dollar Man" as a team of surgeons work to make the AOL Running Man faster and stronger than before.
Other key elements of the marketing campaign include:
-- An innovative marketing alliance with Infinity Broadcasting
that will promote AOL for Broadband on 183 Infinity radio
stations across the country reaching 73 million weekly
listeners on stations in top 50 markets, in addition to
streams of select Infinity stations on the AOL Radio@ Network;
-- An AOL for Broadband mobile marketing tour that kicks off in
May and will visit 50 destinations this summer, featuring an
18-wheel retrofitted tractor trailer truck for special stops
across the country at NASCAR races and other destinations;
-- An effort to distribute AOL for Broadband enabled 8.0 Plus
disks for free through direct marketing campaigns and special
displays in many of the nation's leading retailers this
-- A new online promotional advertising campaign that kicks off
this week, targeting AOL's members and online consumers, at
sites across the Internet, including special content at AOL
Keyword: Broadband, www.aol.com and www.aolbroadband.com.
Joe Redling, AOL's Chief Marketing Officer, said: "We're making an all-out commitment to broadband marketing, putting substantial resources and energy behind this effort. AOL understands that consumers want more than just a high-speed connection, they want to enhance their overall online experience. They want to do more and connect more with people and things they care about. The new AOL for Broadband is designed to help them make the most of the broadband experience and bring their high-speed connection to life."
Len Short, AOL's Executive Vice President for Brand Marketing, said: "These new TV ads represent a new direction for AOL. As AOL's audience has grown more diverse and the Internet become less of a novelty to them, we need to communicate differently than we have before. This means advertising as much to current members in the market for broadband as it does targeting those who use other services or aren't yet online. This is a fundamental departure for us."
New Pricing Provides Upgrade Incentive for Current Members
Along with these outreach efforts, AOL is marketing its broadband service to its current members with new promotional pricing plans for "Bring Your Own Access" (BYOA) service, in which AOL for Broadband runs over a connection from another provider.
Existing AOL dial-up members can upgrade to a $9.95 BYOA broadband subscription that includes five hours of dial-up connectivity until December 31, 2003 before rolling to the standard price of $14.95.
New members will be offered a 45-day free trial, followed by one month at $9.95 that includes five hours of dial-up connectivity before rolling to the standard price of $14.95.
Consumers who prefer unlimited dial-up -- such as business travelers -- will also have these options:
-- For existing members, unlimited dial-up usage with one month
at $9.95 before rolling to the standard price of $24.95; or
-- For new members, a 45-day free trial, followed by one month at
$9.95 that includes unlimited dial-up usage before rolling to
the standard price of $24.95.
All AOL for Broadband BYOA subscriptions allow unlimited use of the service using any high-speed connection, including multiple simultaneous log-ins of up to seven Screen Names on the same AOL account.
For no extra charge, this feature allows busy families, who often compete for time online, to share all of the benefits of the service with the entire family. For example, kids can do their homework or play games on their computers while Dad checks stock quotes from his home office. Individual AOL for Broadband users can sign on with their own Screen Name and enjoy all of their own customized settings and personal preferences.
AOL also offers bundled service and connectivity through its cable and DSL partners for $54.95 per month that includes unlimited dial-up service, multiple simultaneous log-ins, and use of a broadband modem.
Research Shows Consumers Want More Than Speed
The AOL for Broadband service, including features delivered with AOL 8.0 Plus, were shaped in large part by market testing in which consumers emphasized that their ideal broadband service needs to be fast, but always available and well organized so they can accomplish tasks "instantaneously" with "immediate" access to information they want.
These results were confirmed in a recent survey conducted for AOL by Opinion Research Corp., which showed that:
-- 61% of those surveyed say they are spending more time online
each day than they ever did and doing more online than ever
-- Significant numbers say they have added new online activities
that they did not engage in before getting broadband,
including downloading music (40%), watching video (30%),
playing online games (27%), and viewing and sharing photos
-- More than half (52%) say they shop more online since getting
-- 74% say that the greater access to round-the-clock national
and local news provided by broadband makes them feel "better
informed" than they were previously.
New and Expanded Content Agreements Enhance Value of Programming
AOL for Broadband provides exclusive, original, brand name programming on demand using state-of-the-art video and audio technology that allows consumers to find what they want when they want it and also share it with others. AOL for Broadband extends AOL's radio, video content and programming leadership even further.
Content areas of specific interest to AOL for Broadband members include News, Entertainment, Music, Games, Sports, Movies, Television and Living. In addition, AOL for Broadband offers a range of entertainment content available nowhere else, including the popular "Sessions@AOL," and "BroadBAND Rocks!"features, which showcase top-tier artists in exclusive performances, as well as AOL "Firsts" which feature hotly anticipated releases in music, games, movies and television before they are available elsewhere.
AOL's ability to aggregate the best content, present online exclusives, and join them together with great communications and community features into a unique compelling experience is unmatched. AOL features, like daily and topical polls on headline news and other stories, bring people all over the world together to share views, opinions and personal experiences. The scale and functionality of AOL's virtual community features -- chats, polls, ratings, message boards, discussion groups and more -- in which millions of individuals come together and communicate in real time, exists only on AOL. Also part of AOL's unique programming are state-of-the-art search features for news, images and video content, and personalization features that let members receive instant breaking news alerts or daily reminders online and on mobile devices, showcase their own content and more.
Included in all of AOL's offerings are content packages from CNN, ABC News, MLB, NFL, NBA, NASCAR, NHL, People magazine and other leading brands that are available elsewhere on the Internet for a fee and would cost more than $50 if purchased separately.
Along with its other broadband efforts today, AOL announced several agreements to expand its broadband programming. New or enhanced content will include:
-- ABC News will provide AOL for Broadband members free access to
special video reports, breaking news, exclusive interactive
chats with ABC News correspondents and guests; daily clips
from ABC News programs including ABC News' World News Tonight
and Good Morning America; in-depth features and interviews
from 20/20 and Primetime Thursday and segments from This Week;
archived ABC News footage relating to current events; and
audio updating news, sports, entertainment, technology, and
-- The Weather Channel will provide localized video weather
reports in 75 markets and 9 regions around the United States.
Forecasts will be updated daily and cover a three-day period;
-- NewsProNet, a strategic broadcast content provider, will
deliver coverage including "Investing In America(TM)" money
stories that provide consumers with useful tips, information
and ideas to help stretch their dollar, as well as unique
science and health coverage that's reviewed for accuracy by
scientific experts and can make a difference in members'
-- MLB Advanced Media, the interactive media and Internet company
of Major League Baseball, which runs MLB.com, the official
league Web site, as well as the 30 individual team sites, will
provide AOL for Broadband a variety of audio and video
programming including MLB Radio, the nation's only
all-baseball radio network; Postgame.tv, daily video highlight
shows of up to 15 games per day; and a selection of Baseball's
Best, complete game video of some of the greatest games ever
played; as well as other special content. In addition, AOL
members will be offered discounts on MLB.com's premium
service, Total Ticket;
-- NASCAR.com will provide access to live NASCAR Winston Cup
series events, such as leaderboard and scoring data and in-car
and broadcast race audio. In addition, NASCAR.com will provide
AOL with essential video such as race previews, highlights,
victory lane interviews and race reviews every week, plus
other feature material geared for the AOL for Broadband
-- The NHL will provide AOL for Broadband subscribers with
game-by-game highlights on a daily basis throughout the entire
-- The NFL and NBA, as part of existing agreements, will continue
to provide to AOL Sports compelling pro football and
basketball Broadband content, including game highlights, plays
of the week, features and other special audio/video
-- College Sports Television (CSTV) will make a twice-weekly
specially-produced and original college sports show available
to AOL members in addition to other special programming; CSTV
is the first-ever, 24-hour television network devoted to
college sports, launching on April 7th;
-- Redline Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of Best Buy
Co., Inc., will provide AOL Broadband with exclusive "first
views" of action sports video footage, including
skateboarding, bmx, surfing and snowboarding;
-- MathMastery.com, an award-winning online math curriculum, will
provide AOL members an exclusive discount on MathMastery's
courseware. For less than $1 a month, members can subscribe to
a range of animated video lessons from MathMastery for
students ranging from the 3rd to 8th grades. Courses include
Fractions, Decimals, Tables, Graphs and Statistics;
-- An expanded agreement with National Geographic that will offer
AOL members specially produced AOL for Broadband video
features from National Geographic's award-winning films and
television specials, a weekly science and exploration news
program related to timely topics, and exclusive sneak peeks of
new National Geographic programs;
-- Flying Rhinoceros will provide unique packages of interactive
education and entertainment content for children, combining
animated educational cartoons, online books, interactive
posters and printable activities kids can do alone or with
their parents on such themes as creativity, the human body, or
-- Univision Communications, the #1 Spanish language media
company in the U.S., will provide AOL with broadband content
that may include special Latino celebrity clips, news content
and other entertainment features. In addition, Univision will
promote AOL through online media on Univision.com, and will
provide special access to Univision through AOL Keyword:
-- Time Inc. will make online sites for its magazines available
exclusively to AOL members and magazine customers -- starting
with People and Entertainment Weekly, with other magazines to
follow -- and will create original content especially for key
AOL audiences; and
-- MovieFlix.com will offer free screenings of classic movies for
AOL for Broadband members.
Additionally, new AOL for Broadband exclusives that will be available in the next several weeks include:
-- Madonna will be featured as AOL's Artist of the Month for
April, with an exclusive "BroadBAND Rocks!" concert debut,
exclusive "Sessions@AOL," exclusive "First Listen" premiere of
the song "Love Profusion" from her new album American Life,
-- The first-ever AOL Movies-Entertainment Weekly Summer Movies
Guide will give AOL members everything they want to know about
all the summer blockbusters, with a compelling package
including "First Looks" that preview exclusive
never-before-seen footage featured in the magazine;
-- "Morning After" a new weekly feature that will break
interviews with the bachelorettes of the hit reality series
"The Bachelor" every Thursday, the morning after each new
weekly episode; and
-- "First Break" contest, AOL for Broadband's answer to "American
Idol," will give members the chance to help identify a new
music star, listen to finalists perform and vote to determine
who wins a demo deal from Atlantic Records and a
Jim Bankoff, Executive Vice President, Programming, said: "AOL's ability to aggregate the best content, present online exclusives, and join them together with great communications and community features into a unique compelling experience is second to none. We know that broadband consumers love being able to enjoy and share the kind of video and audio programming that high speed connections make possible. That's why we're making sure that AOL for Broadband extends our content leadership even further."
New Enhancements to Service -- AOL 8.0 Plus
An additional centerpiece of AOL's broadband push is the launch this week of its latest upgrade to the AOL for Broadband service, AOL 8.0 Plus, with a wide range of improvements that deliver what broadband consumers want most: help to effortlessly get what they want online; enhanced communications tools; a safer Internet experience; and even more robust entertainment offerings.
A dramatic new Welcome Screen specially designed to optimize the broadband experience delivers vibrant, rich media video and audio content for viewers, with a prominent video display that presents news programming, informative content and entertainment continually updated throughout the day. Larger in size, the Welcome Screen takes advantage of the high-resolution display capabilities common on most computer monitors purchased in the last few years.
The new Welcome Screen is streamlined to provide a compelling, convenient place from which consumers can find what they want when they want it on demand, based on their own schedule. At a glance, members can take advantage of up-to-the-minute news and information programmed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as essential resources like e-mail, AOL(R) Yellow Pages, current weather conditions, maps and directions, TV listings, AOL(R) Search and stock quotes. Members can view and share digital photos through the popular You've Got Pictures(TM) service, shop, play games and even listen to their favorite music, news, sports and entertainment in CD-quality sound on Radio@AOL for Broadband. Live customer service from AOL for Broadband specialists is only a click away from the new "Help" button.
Other enhancements include:
-- Highlighting of topics that appeal to AOL's broadband members
most -- including the News, Entertainment, Music, Games and
Sports Channels -- on the new Welcome Screen for easy access
to features of interest and content from premier sources
programmed around the clock;
-- Redesign of AOL's popular Movies, Music and Television
channels, as well as Entertainment and Games, with more video
and audio, exclusive premieres, original programming, news and
reviews, behind-the-scenes on celebrity dish, and ways to
interact with fans from around the world;
-- AOL(R) Search, enhanced by Google, is available directly from
the new Welcome Screen and makes it easy to search from one
place for news headlines, local resources through AOL(R)
Yellow Pages, images, movies, stock quotes, maps and
directions, and more;
-- High-quality safety and security options developed in
partnership with Network Associates(R), including the
McAfee(R) Personal Firewall Express PC-based firewall
software, which members can download and install at no
additional charge. Soon, AOL for Broadband will include Virus
Protection powered by McAfee Security(R), which will
automatically scan attachments to incoming and outgoing
e-mails to detect viruses, then attempt to fix or quarantine
any attachments found to have known viruses, before they
infect a member's computer. For added computer security, AOL
will also make available a premium version of the service to
extend the anti-virus protection beyond e-mail to the user's
personal computer system;
-- New Internet Access Controls that provide extended Parental
Controls protections for AOL members on a broadband
connection. This added coverage prevents kids from using
external browsers to surf the Internet and access
inappropriate Web sites. While on AOL for Broadband, kids can
still visit Web sites based on their Parental Controls
-- Additional safety and security initiatives such as AOL Web
Pop-Up Controls, the ability to report multiple spam messages
with the Report Spam button, and more;
-- The AOL(R) Communicator e-mail option, currently in Preview
Release, a stand-alone e-mail software product designed for
power AOL members who want additional, advanced features and
flexibility for managing multiple e-mail accounts and instant
messaging from one central place;
-- AOL for Broadband makes the convenience of always-on broadband
connectivity more valuable by providing users with "anywhere,
anytime" availability to their personalized AOL features,
including new ways to forward incoming instant messages to
their text-enabled wireless phone when they aren't online, add
wireless phone numbers to their Buddy List(R) feature and send
instant text messages directly to wireless phones;
-- Radio@AOL for Broadband, providing CD-quality sound with more
than 175 channels of music, news, local radio, sports and
more, including song selections by Celebrity DJs. Coming soon,
new preferences will allow members to have Radio@AOL for
Broadband automatically start playing the station they enjoy
when they sign on, and also share favorite stations with
friends through instant messages and listen together at the
same time; and
-- Video@AOL, a convenient hub putting the wide range of video
content from across the service at members' fingertips in a
single convenient location, and offers members new ways to
share video with friends via e-mail and instant messages.
David Gang, Executive Vice President of Product Marketing, said: "AOL has always based upgrades on member feedback, and AOL 8.0 Plus is no different. We've studied how people use broadband, talked to our members about what they want out of the high-speed experience, and translated what we learned into the new and enhanced features in this upgrade, which makes the online experience even more compelling, no matter how or where you go online. This is only the beginning of the broadband and overall AOL product enhancements we're going to be offering this year."
About AOL for Broadband
AOL for Broadband is the best source for entertainment and information on the Internet, with programming and features that are exclusive only to AOL for Broadband members. Available nationwide, consumers can simply add the AOL for Broadband service to any high-speed DSL or cable Internet connection if they have existing access through their local phone, cable TV or Internet provider. AOL also offers a complete, all-in-one bundled package of AOL for Broadband features, content and broadband connectivity.
For additional information about AOL for Broadband, members can visit AOL Keyword: Broadband where they can learn about broadband and place an order. Or call 1-800-574-1779 or visit www.aolbroadband.com.
About America Online, Inc.
America Online, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: AOL). Based in Dulles, Virginia, America Online is the world's leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies and e-commerce services.
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|Date:||Mar 31, 2003|
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