RealTime IT News

AOL: You Go Girl!

In an effort to cater to the growing number of women going online to locate information and spend money on goods and services, America Online Inc. announced this week the launch of a new Women's Channel.

In addition, the company announced a major agreement with Oxygen Media to be the cornerstone of the new channel.

Under terms of the agreement, AOL is taking a minority equity stake in Oxygen, and will transfer all of its ownership interests in three of its women's online sites to Oxygen Media. These include Electra, a full-service online women's network; Thrive, a healthy living site; and the Moms Online parenting site.

Oxygen will oversee these sites, and will occupy multiple anchor tenancies in the new Women's Channel (keyword: Women) and elsewhere on AOL and AOL.COM.

Financial details were not disclosed.

AOL said the women's channel features areas on Money, Home, Wellness, Relationships, Career, Entertainment, Beauty and a special "Talk" area for chat, message boards and live events. Programs will also be provided by other content partners, including Hearst, iVillage, Oprah Online and Women.com.

These announcements underscore AOL's growing appeal to women, who, according to the firm, now make up 51% of its users. This number is up from just 16% in 1994, and AOL said women now control more than 80% of all personal and household goods spending.

"We've always recognized the importance of our female audience and addressed their needs throughout the service," said Bob Pittman, president and chief operating officer for AOL. "Our new Women's Channel and this new partnership symbolize AOL's long-standing commitment to providing a service that reflects the interests and needs of its membership base."