RealTime IT News

AOL Confirms It Will Launch Free Service in UK

AOL Europe confirmed Monday that it will launch a new subscription-free service, Netscape Online, to complement its AOL and CompuServe brands in the UK.

The launch is scheduled for mid-August this year.

"One of the great advantages of AOL Europe is that we are a multiple-brand company, so we can successfully match our brand offerings to all significant market segments in every country we serve," said Andreas Schmidt, president and CEO of AOL Europe.

"The launch of Netscape Online for the 'value' market will complement our full-featured, premium AOL brand for the mainstream, family market and CompuServe brand for the professional market."

Schmidt said that he believes this method will bring in the critical mass necessary to generate substantial advertising and commerce revenues, while allowing a low-cost, reliable and expandable infrastructure."

AOL sees what it calls a "newly-emerging value market" in the UK -- and aims to capture a large share of it. It will offer high performance Internet access backed with the Netscape browser and AOL Instant Messenger 2.0.

"The Netscape brand is virtually synonymous with the development of the Internet as a consumer medium," said AOL UK managing director David Phillips.

"Netscape Online will bring the best interactive experience possible to this emerging value-oriented market segment and will fully complement the AOL and CompuServe brands in the UK."

David Phillips went on to say that the free-access consumer was more likely to be male, young, and single than AOL UK's core audience. Such a consumer is happy to have an alternative to the standard, easy-to-use service which is preferred by family users, said Phillips.

For users of its main service, AOL will introduce its next-generation client, AOL 5.0, in the UK later in the year.

AOL Europe is a joint partnership between America Online and Bertelsmann AG.