Yenra : Software : AOL New Version Upgrade : Unprecedented Marketing Campaign includes AOL Time Warner Assets With Extensive Online and Retail Promotions, New TV Ads and New Wired in a Week Guide

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America Online today announced the launch of its new version, AOL 7.0, which integrates local programming into every part of the service, provides easy access to high-speed audio and video content, and introduces breakthrough music and entertainment features to extend AOL's hallmark convenience and ease-of-use.

This new version of the AOL service is available as an upgrade for existing members at no additional charge in the United States and Puerto Rico with localized versions for AOL's international markets in the near future.

Built to respond to extensive consumer research and member feedback, AOL 7.0 offers:

Listening to Consumers

Barry Schuler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AOL, said: "AOL 7.0 is at the center of a range of AOL initiatives that will open the next chapter of the Internet. We're building on our strong, engaged relationships with more than 31 million members worldwide to lead the transformation of new categories like music, entertainment, local, and digital photography -- with more on the way as broadband and AOL Anywhere create new opportunities like home networking. We've designed this upgrade to both reflect the way consumers are using the medium today and give them new ways to get even more value from it."

Jonathan Sacks, President of AOL, said: "AOL is all about consumers -- we listen to what our members want and build the service around the way they live their lives. By adding new features, providing enhancements to the features that our members have known and loved for years, and retooling the AOL software 'under the hood' to make the service work more smoothly and easily, AOL 7.0 is the best online experience ever. Increasingly, our members don't distinguish between their online life and their life -- neither do we."

Unprecedented Marketing Campaign Includes Range of AOL Time Warner Assets

The launch of AOL 7.0 will be the focal point of a multi-faceted marketing campaign, aimed at gaining both new members and introducing current members to the upgrade. Among the elements of this campaign will be:

Joe Redling, President of Marketing for AOL, said: "The ability to draw on the audiences, subscription relationships, and distribution networks provided by the various AOL Time Warner brands gives a whole new dimension to our marketing efforts. Between those efforts and our phenomenal retail partnerships, we're able to reach consumers through a wider variety of platforms in the most efficient way possible, which should make this our most successful launch ever. Our goal is for consumers to know that they can find us easily wherever they are, whatever they're doing."

The Best Localized Content & Features to Manage Daily Life

AOL 7.0 is designed to bring local content front and center throughout the service, reflecting the growing demand for information that's relevant in consumers' own communities as the online medium becomes more and more important to them as a necessary tool to help manage their daily lives.

The AOL Welcome Screen now features local weather, news headlines, sports, headlines, movies, dining and weekend guides automatically personalized for each member's hometown, from the more than 30,000 cities and states covered by AOL's local programming. Relevant local information and commerce opportunities are highlighted across AOL channels including Entertainment, Travel, Health, House & Home, Shopping, Autos, News and Parenting.

The new AOL Box Office with Ticketmaster, another part of AOL 7.0's emphasis on local information, is a one-stop service offering consumers online access to Ticketmaster's extensive inventory of local entertainment events. Covering more than 60 cities across the country, AOL Box Office with Ticketmaster offers people easy and convenient ticket purchasing opportunities for concerts, performing arts,sports, movies, and family events. AOL Box Office lists thousands of featured events from Ticketmaster and tickets from more than 8,000 movie screens nationwide through Moviefone, as well as exclusive pre-sales for premier events such as Madonna's Drowned World Tour and Britney Spears' 2001 Tour.

The service's emphasis on localization reflects surging demand for information that is relevant and useful for entertainment planning, shopping, staying informed, and organizing everyday life. According to the 2001 America Online/Roper Starch Cyberstudy, consumers are interested in activities like checking weather (59% of all Internet consumers) and getting driving directions or maps (72%).

Katherine Borsecnik, President, AOL Brand Management and Programming, said: "For years, AOL has been shaping the evolution and emergence of the 'local Web' to what it is today, and has been instrumental in helping people make important decisions and plans in their daily lives - while also transforming e-commerce and how businesses reach consumers online. With local content threaded through every part of the service, AOL 7.0 takes those efforts to the next level of convenience for consumers and businesses alike."

Enhancements to AOL's Most Popular Features

AOL 7.0 includes many enhancements to the popular features members are already using more than an hour a day, including:

New AOL Broadband Content Throughout Service

AOL 7.0 is designed to provide both dial-up and broadband consumers with an experience that is optimized for their connection speed. For the growing number of consumers adopting high-speed connections, it delivers seamless access to the Internet's best selection of audio and video content, complementing the AOL High-Speed Broadband services.

AOL's broadband services are currently available through DSL nationwide to BellSouth, Qwest, SBC, and Verizon customers, and through satellite wherever dial-up service is available. The AOL High-Speed Broadband service is also currently being rolled out over Time Warner Cable in its 20 largest markets.

AOL's broadband services combine the advantages of a broadband connection -- including instant-on capability and the ability to make the most of online audio and video -- with the convenience and ease-of-use that have made AOL the world's most popular online service.

With these services, consumers sign on to AOL instantly, move between Web sites and download large files quickly, eliminate the need for a second phone line to let family members be online and talk on the telephone at the same time; and begin to enjoy high-speed broadband's capabilities to enable next-generation services such as home networking, interactive gaming and more.

The AOL 7.0 software automatically detects when a member is signed on at high speed, and seamlessly integrates featured content into a "High-Speed AOL" area on the Welcome Screen, AOL channels and sites, replacing the separate "multimedia tower" that was used to display high-speed broadband content in previous versions of the AOL service.

Among the content offerings that this integration puts one click away are:

Audrey Weil, President of AOL Broadband, said: "Broadband gives consumers faster connections and always-on convenience, but even more important is the content that comes through those so-called fat pipes. Through our AOL Time Warner assets and hundreds of other content partnerships, we're able to offer AOL members the richest choice of convenient, entertaining, and informative audio and video content anywhere, built right into the easy-to-use service. AOL 7.0 is optimized for any speed, so members don't have to think about how they're connected. They can just focus on what they want to see and hear."

AOL International Takes 7.0 Global

AOL services around the world will also be making the launch of localized versions of AOL 7.0 a centerpiece of marketing efforts to drive membership growth.

Availability

AOL members can upgrade to new version AOL 7.0 at AOL Keyword: Upgrade. Others can download the new version at www.aol.com.