RealTime IT News

AOL Kicks Off Digital City 2000

America Online Inc. Tuesday launched a revamped version of its city guide service, dubbed Digital City 2000, offering residents and visitors localized content in 60 of its 200 U.S. markets served.

The online giant also announced Digital City Inc. would complete its current expansion plan to provide localized content to more than 200 Digital City Web destinations by the end of April while it unleashes Digital City Wireless access.

Ted Leonsis, president of America Online (AOL) interactive properties, said Digital City is already one of AOL's fastest-growing brands.

"Digital City is already one of the fastest-growing parts of AOL," Leonsis said. "The incredible convenience we are offering consumers with our new service is going to take that growth to supersonic levels."

AOL is looking to capitalize on the current boom in popularity of localized content in the online world. AOL plans to make the most of its Digital City sites to offer local entertainment information in both thick and thin formats for access from conventional computers and portable devices.

According to Jupiter Communications Inc. (JPTR), 54 percent of the $7.7 billion spent on online advertising in 2002 will be spent locally, an increase of more than 700 percent over current figures.

With nearly 5 million unique visitors each month Digital City is well suited to garnish local advertising dollars. Digital City has racked up more than 2,000 interactive marketing partners from which it receives strong national, regional and local advertising support.

Paul DeBenedictis, Digital City president, said research to put together its 2000 content and wireless service offerings has paid off.

"We've spent more than a year working with consumers to really understand what they want in a local content network," DeBenedictis said. "Digital City 2000 and Digital City Wireless make it easier than ever to plan your day, your week, or your future in your own home town and virtually anyplace you visit."

Digital City 2000 includes content from MapQuest.com, Inc., event planning, tickets purchases as well as its local expert's directory as part of its "local everywhere" coverage of the United States.