AOL, Samsung Strike Technology, Marketing Deal

AOL Time Warner continues trading advertising for technology, this time
through an agreement that calls for Korean electronics giant Samsung
to manufacture
new consumer products, including an enhanced version of AOL’s interactive TV
platform.

The multi-year agreement calls for the New York-based media giant to
provide Seoul’s Samsung with marketing and advertising throughout its host
of online and offline properties.

Specifically, AOL Time Warner said it would promote Samsung DVD players
through print outlets, including People, Entertainment Weekly and Sports
Illustrated
magazines, as well as through its online properties America
Online and Moviefone.com. Similarly, ads for Samsung’s high-definition
TV products
and upcoming combined PDA and mobile phone will appear across AOL’s
television, print and online channels.

Closer to the 2002 Winter Games, AOL will be promoting a special contest,
“Countdown to the Olympics,” to subscribers of its America Online service;
Samsung will provide the prizes and receive marketing throughout the service
in conjunction with the giveaway.

In return for all of this promotion — on which AOL did not put a dollar
figure — executives expect Samsung to help AOL roll out a new version of
its interactive TV set-top box, which will incorporate the TiVo digital
video recording service.

AOL has been wanting to provide digital recording since the middle of
last year. Last June, it signed an agreement with San Jose, Calif.-based
TiVo to provide its Personal TV recording service to AOLTV subscribers. But
to roll out a TiVo-enhanced AOLTV box, AOL needed a manufacturing partner.

“We’re pleased to announce this relationship with Samsung, one of the
world’s premier consumer electronics manufacturers,” said AOLTV president
Robert Friedman. “This agreement is another example of AOL Time Warner’s
unparalleled ability to use the combined strengths of our online, print and
broadcast brands to help drive growth for our business partners, and
ultimately offer increased value to consumers.”

The co-branded product will combine the ability to record live TV with
existing AOLTV features — instant messaging, e-mail, and Web browsing —
likely strengthening the consumer appeal of the media giant’s iTV service,
an important cornerstone of its “AOL Anywhere” multi-platform strategy.

But the agreement likely won’t end with AOLTV. The deal also allows for
AOL to roll out future co-branded consumer electronics that Samsung would
manufacture — including wireless devices, Web terminals and e-mail
printers.

“We’re looking forward to collaborating with AOL Time Warner, the world’s
best online and offline media company, to provide consumers with total
entertainment and communications solutions, as well as new digital
experiences that will lead the digital convergence era,” said Samsung
executive vice president Eric Kim.

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