RealTime IT News

AOL's Netscape Online Debuts in UK

Netscape Online made a noisy debut in the UK on Tuesday, following weeks of anticipation for the free Internet service.

Netscape Online aims at a sector of the market that parent company AOL Europe says is a "value-conscious segment" of "do-it-yourself" Internet users. Instead of offering a family service, like AOL itself, Netscape Online is packaged for more experienced and Net-savvy users.

However, Netscape Online launched very much as a consumer brand, being made available free of charge through nearly 800 Woolworths stores nationwide as a result of an agreement with Kingfisher.

While Netscape Online claims to offer best of class content brands such as ft.com, Film Unlimited, sports.com, and so on. These, of course, are brands that are available to anyone with any Internet connection. Netscape Online also offers standard Internet facilities such as messaging and chat.

Netscape Online will offer nine channels and 20 community areas, according to Karen Thomson, AOL UK's managing director.

"We have had a very enthusiastic response to our pre-registration site and, as a result, are even more confident that Netscape Online is well-positioned to lead the subscription-free market in the UK, complementing our flagship AOL, CompuServe and AOL Instant Messenger brands," she added.

Despite its surfeit of brands, AOL Europe is confident that its marketing power can attract a substantial user base for Netscape Online. The launch is backed by national television advertising from September 1, and a print and online advertising campaign that starts immediately.