AOL Plans Marketing Blitz

America Online is planning a massive
marketing
starting Monday to promote its latest software for the proprietary service,
v4.0.


In its first major marketing push in almost two years, AOL, the No. 1 online
service, will promote version 4.0 through magazine inserts, cereal boxes and
gas stations.


Although the software has been available to current subscribers via download
since December, getting the disks out to consumers through school cafeterias,
catalog orders and mailings will help AOL gain thousands of first-time
subscribers, analysts said.


Bloomberg News quoted one analyst as
saying that company will add between 750,000 and 1 million subscribers for
each of the next few quarters, up from 665,000 new members for its fiscal
fourth quarter ended June 30.


Spending on the marketing blitz will raise AOL’s marketing costs to more than
$120 million for its current fiscal first quarter, said the analyst. The
company is hoping to attract first-time Internet users with the software, said
spokeswoman Ann Brackbill.


AOL will begin a television and radio advertising campaign on Oct. 5, while
the disk promotion will begin on Monday, said Jan Brandt, AOL president of
marketing. The company declined to specify how many millions of disks it will
mail out, the cost of the campaign or projections for subscriber growth.


Version 4.0 is free and includes 100 free hours of usage. Subscribers pay a
monthly $21.95 fee for the service after that.

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