AOL stresses importance of convenience

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The new mantra from America Online: "Convenience is king," said Bob Pittman, chairman-CEO of AOL, who presented AOL's perspective on the online service market during a March 4 keynote speech at Jupiter Communications' annual conference. "What we're selling is a service. What we're offering is convenience in a box."

In a discussion dominated by the idea that the key to market success was understanding the consumer, rather than making the consumer understand the product, he said "superior products don't win...superior brands win." He said that it is brand position that makes AOL a category leader.

In related news, AOL Studios is moving forward in 1997 with plans to add marketing support for its dozens of original online brands, according to Danny Krifcher, president and founder of Greenhouse. "You're going to see a concerted marketing effort from America Online on behalf of the [Studios] brands...for third quarter or the beginning of fourth quarter." AOL Studios will most likely tap an agency to handle marketing efforts.

"We're moving out of the business of funding businesses," said Mr. Krifcher. "More and more of our content will be developed in Studios." He also said that fewer new properties will be developed, with those chosen for development being more substantial in both investment and content scope. AOL developed between 24 and 30 properties during 1996.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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