AOL TO DEBUT ADS FOR BROADBAND MUSIC ON GRAMMY'S

Troubled Online Giant Begins Strategy to Promote Fee-based Content

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- America Online, Dulles, Va., will break two 30-second TV spots promoting its AOL Music on Broadband content Feb. 23 during CBS' Grammy Awards broadcast.

The spots, produced in-house, flag AOL Music franchises including First Listen, Sessions@AOL and Broadband Rocks and feature performances by Avril Lavigne, LL Cool Jay and Faith Hill, among others. The spots will continue to run after the Grammy broadcast.

Much riding on music
The spots mark the first time AOL

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has run dedicated advertising for a content channel. AOL Music on Broadband is a key part of AOL's strategy to promote exclusive content and interactive experiences on its high-speed Internet service. Music, including exclusive concert footage, videos, chat and access to pre-released singles, is a key driver for AOL as it struggles to move its 35 million dial-up members to broadband. AOL wants its members to spend more time online and pay for exclusive content.

Account review
Separately, the ailing interactive unit of AOL Time Warner briefed six agencies participating in the review for its estimated $100 million account on Feb. 5 and 6. The six finalists are Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston and New York; Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide and DDB Worldwide, both New York; Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York; independent Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.; and Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, which is partly owned by Maxxcom.

The specifics of the assignment could not be determined. The agencies will make presentations to Leonard Short, executive vice president of brand marketing for AOL, and other executives, in early March. Pile & Co, Boston, is leading the review.

Mr. Short said Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, is not participating in the review. Goodby was fired last week from the SBC Communications account; the SBC account had been considered a conflict that might have precluded Goodby's participation.

"We have a completely full dance card here with these guys, we wouldn't disrupt the process at this point," Mr. Short said.

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