New software aims to breathe life into AOL

ITworld.com |  Networking

The new broadband service will feature its own welcome screen with broadband-geared content, such as news and entertainment video clips. The company is also rolling out a new Video@AOL channel on the high-speed service, which will serve as a hub for movie trailers, music videos, news footage and other video content.

"The idea (for broadband) is not to just recap the AOL service faster," said Carlos A. Silva Jr., AOL vice president of broadband programming.

The company also plans to roll out additional broadband features in the months after the launch, Silva said, such as allowing users to create interactive slide shows. As for premium broadband offerings, Silva said that AOL plans to get the basic programming in place before it starts to charge users for extra services.

"The last thing we want to do is hit them with premium services right away," he said.

Both Kimball and Silva said that AOL will be adding premium services "where they make sense."

Although AOL is under pressure to shore up revenue, increasing its subscriber base appears higher on the agenda. Currently, the service has more than 35 million members, but growth in recent quarters has been sluggish. Competition also nips at AOL's heels, as Microsoft Corp. prepares for a no-holds-barred launch of it's updated service on Oct. 24.

During a keynote address at Internet World, new AOL head Jon Miller said the release of 8.0 will be the company's most important product release to date.

Whether the feature-packed software packs a punch remains to be seen, however.

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