Time Warner (TWX) plans to give away AOL service to high- speed Internet users to revive the unit. Millions of subscribers are likely to drop their paid accounts, making the strategy risky for Time Warner and AOL. Subscriptions still account for about 80% of AOL's revenue, contributing to 19% of Time Warner's revenue last year.
Advertisers don't have to fear that they'll face a sea of "sold out" signs as they rush to the Internet. Sites like MySpace.com (NWS) and YouTube.com, provide plenty of inventory for advertisers who can't find space on top portals such as Yahoo (YHOO) and MSN (MSFT). Portal home pages "sell out pretty fast," often 18 months in advance. But growth is "exponential over the past couple of months" at blogging and social network sites.