Select Page

Time will tell..


——– ist=yhoo&guid=%7B3790CBA5%2D7F2C%2D4DF3%2D8F3A%2DA8B0770E1F14%7D

AOL Time Warner has big plans for 7.0 By Jon Friedman, Last Update: 6:22 PM ET Sept. 6, 2001

NEW YORK (CBS.MW) — AOL Time Warner has big plans for the unveiling of the 7.0 service of America Online, the chief executive of the flagship unit said here Thursday at an industry conference.

Barry Schuler, the CEO of America Online, said 7.0 fits neatly into the parent’s (AOL: news, chart, profile) goal of continuing to expand America Online with valuable services for its members.

Currently the unit has 30 million members, 1 million of whom signed up in the last quarter alone, Schuler said, underscoring the division’s impressive growth.

The 7.0 service will have an accent on local programming, such as giving movie listings and restaurant guides. It will replace the existing 6.0 program.

AOL Time Warner’s focus is to make America Online “personal and relevant” for its customers, Schuler said.

Wall Street analysts have fretted that America Online may have a tough time maintaining its eye-popping growth rate. As Schuler conceded, it took America Online 10 years to gain its first 1 million customers.

AOL Time Warner’s shares fell $1.66 to $35.09, or 4.5 percent, during the session.

Schuler said the company’s watchword was to pay attention to what customers want from it. “They’re driving this (growth),” he said.

Schuler might have unwittingly given a scoop during his talk by narrowing the time frame for 7.0. He said Thursday morning at the Salomon Smith Barney Tech2001 industry conference that the service would be distributed next month, but the company has been saying that it’ll be released during the fall season.

AOL Time Warner is also focusing on boosting sales abroad. It now has about 6 million customers outside the U.S., Schuler said. He added that Europe is a big part of the international gameplan.

In related company news, AOL Time Warner is cutting staff and firing the chief operating officer of its German unit as a part of a restructuring.

During a brisk, 40-minute speech to hundreds of industry analysts and investors, Schuler sprinkled his observations about the changing Internet industry with assurances that the AOL Time Warner was working out well and that the company would be the driving force in the digital technology.

Among the innovations that AOL Time Warner could contribute are digital music services, home networking, video on demand, interactive television, telephony applications and America Online’s signature “You’ve Got Pictures 2” service, he said.

Schuler said that “everything in the home” would eventually be connected by a broadband application. “It’s going to be part of the home – like electricity, you just have it.”

The uses of the television set might change the most, he suggested.

“TV is going to go through its biggest change since its invention,” Schuler said.

“Broadband is coming – it’s still coming,” he said. “It’s going to take time but it’s integral” to the changes in technology.

AOL Time Warner now has about 135 million subscription customers in total.