Newsweek to AOL

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Newsweek InterActive said it will move its online service from Prodigy to America Online effective in June. Newsweek is the second weekly news title to shuffle online service providers in the past few months, and may be taking up space Time abandoned when it left AOL for CompuServe (and its soon-to-be-launched WOW) late last year.

Newsweek will bring advertisers from its Prodigy presence to AOL--including Chrysler-Plymouth, Federal Express, Honda, Lexus and Lincoln Mercury. The brand will also create a new online rate card.

The Newsweek departure is the second loss in a week for Prodigy. Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated for Kids said it would move to CompuServe's Wow.

``The old model of proprietary services getting traditional brands was a viable strategy two years ago,'' Prodigy President Ed Bennett told Advertising Age in an interview this week. ``We're light years away from that.''

The future, he said, is in original content, which Prodigy can fund and/or create itself much more cheaply than it would cost to woo and keep traditional media brand names.

The online services can easily be accused of talking out of both sides of their mouth, however. When AOL lost Time last year, it said its mandate was to create new brands and that it wouldn't get into a bidding war for content that was also on the Web (Newsweek, it should be noted, has an election-theme Web site but no presence for the magazine as a whole). With Newsweek in its stable and a pending deal with Times Mirror, AOL seems to be reversing itself.

CompuServe, meanwhile, claims Time Inc.'s People, Sports Illustrated, Money and Fortune. Only Entertainment Weekly remains with AOL.

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