AOL TO HEAR PRESENTATIONS FROM AGENCIES NEXT WEEK

Six Shops Vie for $150 Million Account

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The six agency finalists in the review for America Online's estimated $150 million account will make presentations to the online unit's executives starting next week.

Two of the finalists, Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, and Crispin Porter Bogusky, Miami, partly owned by Maxxcom, are currently handling project work for the unit of AOL Time Warner.

BBDO is handling ads for AOL's

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entertainment offerings, including creating spots to air during the Academy Awards broadcast next month; Crispin handles ads for AOL Moviefone.

Other finalists include: Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, New York; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Conners, Cosmopulos, New York; independent Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.; and Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York.

A decision is expected early next month.

Separately, beleaguered AOL said that it will accept ads on its "Welcome Screen," which is viewed by its 35 million members as they sign on to the service. AOL banned pop-up ads late last year after consumer outcry. The move to accept ads on its most coveted real estate marks the latest move by the unit to look for a way to attract ad revenue.

The unit's ad revenue fell 40% to $1.6 billion in 2002.