AOL Starts Content Offensive in Germany

AOL Germany wants to become the number one address in German e-commerce, and is starting a new content offensive to meet its new goal.

The company intends to extend its self-professed position as the largest German content provider, and has thus far deflated its prices over the summer and by its ongoing marketing campaign.

The first successes are already evident: the length of the average online session in Germany has risen by about 40 percent since October from 7.5 to 10.5 hours a month, which is the equivalent to 21 minutes a day. The new range of services is not only intended to be exclusive to the paying customer, but the range of free services will also be extended.

The ISP is supported in this by a team of 150 journalists and producers. So-called “competence centres” have been set up, in which editors, specialized in the areas of finance, travel, computers and shopping have already begun to work.

A further important content part will be covered through co-operations with the classic media such as the German news magazine “Spiegel”, the news agency “dpa” and the television channel “RTL”.

With the planned re-launch of the Web site at the beginning of December, this web address will be upgraded to the status of portal site; a further step for the mega-provider in the direction free Net access, which AOL has already established in the UK.

The revenue from the membership charges of the 1.2 million AOL users, is set to become gradually less important as AOL’s “Multiple Revenue Strategy” takes over. AOL reckons with a levelling of the online charges between the various service-providers in the near future, and so is getting ready for competition on a value and breadth of content basis.

AOL has already taken an advantage point in this strategy: it can direct users to either the AOL or CompuServe services, thereby exploiting both cost advantages and synergy effects.

The online service provider is also pursuing other ways of improving the market chances of its products. On Thursday, AOL Europe and chip producer Intel announced an alliance, which has the aim of providing the European customer with a country-specific combination of computer and ready-installed online access.

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