AOL Launches New Channel Devoted to Women's Interests and Needs

September 15, 1998

Powerhouse Partner Lineup Reflects Growing Presence and Purchasing Power of Women on AOL -- Women Represent 51% of AOL Users Laybourne, Driving Force Behind Nickelodeon's Success, to Develop Content and E-Commerce Essential for Women Through Electra, Thrive and Moms Online DULLES, VA, September 15, 1998 - America Online, Inc. [NYSE:AOL], the world's leading Internet online services company, today announced the launch of its new Women's Channel [KEYWORD: Women] and a major agreement with Oxygen Media, a new company founded by Geraldine Laybourne, to be the cornerstone of the new channel. The new Women's Channel will provide a full range of helpful resources, unique content and e-commerce to help women manage their increasingly busy lives. These announcements underscore AOL's growing appeal to women, who now make up 51% of AOL's users - up from just 16% in 1994 - and control more than 80% of all personal and household goods spending. Steve Case, America Online's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Today's announcements reflect one of the most important trends we have seen this year: the dramatic increase in the number of women online. Over half our users are now women, and they are an important component of our rapid growth and our emergence as a mass market medium. We look forward to working with Gerry Laybourne to make the Women's Channel an active community resource." Under the terms of the agreement with Oxygen Media, AOL is taking a minority equity stake in the new company. AOL will transfer all of its ownership interests in three of its successful women's online sites - Electra, a full-service online women's network; Thrive, the #1 healthy living site; and Moms Online, one of the most popular parenting sites on AOL -- to Oxygen Media. Geraldine Laybourne and her team will keep the sites on AOL's Women's Channel and use them as the foundation to create a new brand for women in cyberspace. In addition, under the multi-year agreement, Oxygen will occupy multiple anchor tenancies in the new Women's Channel and elsewhere on AOL and AOL.COM. Bob Pittman, America Online's President and Chief Operating Officer, said, "AOL has always been committed to providing its members best-of-class content. I've known Gerry Laybourne for 20 years. I'm confident that she will help redefine the women's online category and build a brand that will continue to increase AOL's appeal to women as the leading interactive online destination." Geraldine Laybourne, Chairman and CEO of Oxygen Media, said, "The online medium can be a tremendously valuable tool for women - whether they are career women, wives and mothers, or household CEOs or CFOs. AOL is demonstrating its online leadership and vision by creating a women's channel that will help women organize their lives, make decisions and act on them. Through AOL and AOL.COM, Oxygen Media will reach the largest audience by far of women on line with these three distinctive, valuable properties. By aggregating and creating valuable content and services online, we will attract a broad range of advertisers and e-commerce partners who need to connect with women." AOL's New Women's Channel -- Finding It All at KEYWORD: Women Pittman added, "AOL recognizes that women today are a diverse group with diverse interests that can be addressed all across the service. With the new Women's Channel, we're making it easier and more convenient for women to find the quality content that matters most to them and helps make their everyday lives easier - whether they are comparison shopping for a mortgage or a car, checking their investments, looking for information about parenting, getting advice about a relationship, or taking advantage of the convenience, choice and values of shopping online." "While we've always threaded programming addressing women's diverse interests throughout the various channels on the service, some women have told us they would like an area dedicated just to them to help them find what they are looking for," added Pittman. "So we responded with the most comprehensive set of convenience tools and content for women anywhere in cyberspace." Providing what matters most to women on AOL, the Women's Channel [Keyword: Women] features areas on Money, Home, Wellness, Relationships, Career, Entertainment, Beauty and a special "Talk" area for chat, message boards and live events. The Women's Channel offers functional tools that save members time and help them perform everyday tasks such as manage their finances (mortgage, auto loan, personal debt and retirement calculators), advance their careers (job listings), address family concerns and relationships, find health and beauty tips (support groups, calorie counter), plan vacations, and shop online and make off-line purchasing decisions. In addition, members "tuning in" to the new Women's Channel will find unique, timely programming from leading women's content partners: Hearst HomeArts, a home to a community of women seeking innovative programming as well as popular offline magazine titles like Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Town and Country, Marie Claire, House Beautiful and Cosmopolitan. iVillage, a network of communities for women focused on family, work, health, fitness, relationships, money, food and shopping. Oprah Online, a place to check out the latest books in Oprah's book club, write Oprah, find out about upcoming shows, and revisit great moments from previous shows. Oxygen Media will leverage Gerry Laybourne's ability to develop and deliver powerful branded content that will enhance the already rich programming to be found on Electra, Thrive, and Moms Online. These sites will provide today's women with the tools they need to manage their increasingly busy lives. Rosie Online, a site that is as much fun as the show with Rosie clips, parenting tips, games, show talk and frequent visits from Rosie herself. Networks, a place where women at different life stages can access the highest quality news, entertainment and information specific to their diverse interests. Demographics Drive Demand for Ad Space Advertisers in the new channel - which include American Greetings, GTE, Fragrance Counter, and Prudential - were attracted by AOL's demographics: ò More than a third of all women online are AOL members; ò Female AOL members are better educated than the average female (39% are college grads vs. 20%); ò Female AOL members are more likely to be employed in professional occupations than the average female (20% vs. 10%); ò Female AOL members have a significantly higher household income than the average female ($63,300 vs. $37,400). [Source: Simmons Study of Media & Markets] "Female consumers are the centerpiece of many of our advertisers' overall marketing strategies," said Myer Berlow, Senior Vice President of Interactive Marketing. "Advertisers recognize that women, who have most of the purchasing power in the home, are coming online in ever-increasing numbers. The new Women's Channel offers our advertisers and e-commerce partners an opportunity to zero in on the most valuable female audience in cyberspace." Berlow noted that AOL recently signed a multi-million agreement with Unilever to market consumer packaged goods. "Unilever was attracted to AOL in part because AOL's more than 13 million members worldwide each spend an average of 45 minutes online every day. That's more than twice the average of general Web users. Not only is our service highly trafficked, but it also retains the interest of visitors significantly longer than most sites in cyberspace." Women on AOL The new Women's Channel is another example of AOL's success in programming for the mass market. AOL has always provided services and content that appeal to women, and communication activities, including email, chat and live events, are very popular among women online. And while women use all parts of the service, a number of AOL's Channels have more female traffic than male: - Lifestyles - Health - Families - Shopping - Travel - Interests - Influence "We've always recognized the importance of our female audience and addressed their needs throughout the service," said Pittman. "Our new Women's Channel and this new partnership symbolize AOL's long-standing commitment to providing a service that reflects the interests and needs of its membership base."

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