RealTime IT News

AOL Taps Synergy Engine for Winamp Push

The cross-media synergy touted during the America Online-Time Warner merger may not have panned out for advertisers as well as the company had planned, but AOL Time Warner is still banking on the concept to help promote its new Nullsoft Winamp music player.

In addition to introducing a host of new features in the release of Winamp3, the New York-based media conglomerate's America Online unit -- which oversees the application -- will rely on some of its offline sister properties to help promote the launch.

Initially, the company will tie in the launch of Winamp3 into the 50th anniversary of humor publication MAD Magazine, which is owned by E.C. Publications, a division of AOL's Warner Bros. division.

The company will offer entries into a sweepstakes to win one of 50 MAD Magazine prize packs with every download. The MAD prize packs include MAD toilet paper, an autographed copy of "MAD's 50 Worst Things In Music," a MAD T-shirt, MAD Neumanisms Ultimate Collector's Package and CDs of Warner Bros. artists.

In another marketing ploy, the new Winamp also includes a custom "skins" for MAD Magazine, as well as skins promoting the recent feature film, "Austin Powers in Goldmember" and the Red Hot Chili Peppers music group -- both affiliated with AOL subsidiaries New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Records, respectively.

"MAD magazine's edgy style has always pushed the envelope of satire and humor, just as Winamp has always been on the cutting edge of digital music," said Joel Ehrlich, senior vice president of advertising and promotions for Warner Bros. Consumer Products and MAD Magazine. "Winamp users will love the MAD Magazine themed skin and its outrageous look, as well as the chance to win some great MAD prizes and collectibles."

The effort to promote the new Winamp -- which features a host of new features on which AOL is hoping to build future applications and services -- is the latest move by AOL centered around reshaping its music properties.

In July, the company eliminated its Spinner brand, rolling the online radio service into its Netscape.com portal -- which the company positions as its flagship Web portal property. AOL also plans a subscription-based music service for the near future.