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AOL Hits 19 Million Worldwide Subscribers

Industry heavyweight America Online Inc. Monday achieved a new milestone in its quest to bring the Internet to the masses.

AOL's worldwide membership base has exceeded 19 million, and AOL stated that it has added more than 5 million members in the past year.

The Internet player credited increased acceptance of e-commerce and impact of the Internet on education as major factors for its growth. The company also gave kudos to its own AOL 5.0 service, and expects the upgrade to further drive subscriber growth both domestically and globally.

"Our rapid growth highlights the power of our mass-market brand and broad appeal of our service's convenience and ease-of-use," said Bob Pittman, AOL's (AOL) president and chief executive officer. "And our next-generation AOL 5.0 service is adding to this appeal, as underscored by its record rate of adoption."

"We're confident that the AOL 5.0 experience will drive continued membership growth, member retention, time spent online and e-commerce, as well as extend AOL's leadership to multiple interactive devices and high-speed access networks."

The company also found that its members are spending more time online, with the average time spent rising eight minutes to 55 minutes per day. AOL is also logging on a total of 1.25 million simultaneous users at peak times, compared to 820,000 last year. Also, more than than 11 million members who are now shopping online.

The announcement may also serve to counter previous analyst concerns that the company's subscription growth rate is slowing.

Two weeks ago, AOL Germany became the company's first overseas property to pass the 1 million subscriber mark.



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