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(May 1, 2001) -- AOL Time Warner co-COO Bob Pittman said today at an upfront forum sponsored by Electronic Media and Advertising Age that the current tough economic times are not nearly as difficult to compete in as the period 18 months to two years ago when there was "helium" in the marketplace.

Mr. Pittman, who then was at AOL, referred to the period when dot-com companies, flush with venture capital and rising stock prices, challenged the giant service provider by offering free Internet service while AOL was charging subscribers more than $20 a month.

Mr. Pittman said the current environment has returned the marketplace back to normal, and that while the economy is tough, there is something comforting about the return of basic business principles.

On another topic, he said that AOL Time Warner would be sensitive to critics charges that it controls too much of the available media outlets and would work to ease their concerns. For example, AOL-TV would be open to networks who want to use its platform. He reitereated that AOL Time Warner will continue to push coordination on all levels among its various units. -- David Goetzl

Copyright May 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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