Time Warner to offer AOL service free-of-cost

MUMBAI: What is perceived as a last ditch attempt to save its sinking internet business initiative AOL, Time Warner has decided to switch the service to free-to-access mode from September.

With this move, AOL will attempt to transform itself into a full-fledged online media business venture, banking purely on advertising revenue and competing directly with rivals in this space Google, Yahoo and MSN. Approximately $2 billion subscriber revenue, which the company will miss now with the move, is expected to be made up in advertising.

Time Warner will be implementing the free service in September this year. Former customers will be able to reactivate their accounts for free when the effort takes effect in September. According to industry estimates, AOL has lost a third of its subscribers since 2002.

This is the next logical step for AOL to capitalize further on the explosive rise in broadband usage and online advertising. With its robust and rapidly expanding advertising operation, we expect to put AOL back on a growth path," Time Warner president Jeff Bewkes has been quoted in media reports as saying.

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