AOL figures soar – but not in the UK

Army of ants

AOL added a million new members to its content-rich service in just 125 days, it boasted yesterday, With 18 million members worldwide -- 20 million if you count its CompuServe members too -- the online service provider appears to be growing from strength to strength. But AOL's continued growth is not repeated everywhere. In the UK, official membership figures have remained stagnant for the last six months. In February, AOL UK said it had 600,000 members. Today, an AOL spokeswoman confirmed that the figures had remained unchanged. She did say, though, that the figures have increased but was unable to say by how much. The same applies to AOL's CompuServe brand in the UK which has also remained unchanged at 400,000 for the last six months. The contrast of AOL UK's inability to attract new members compared to the exaltations of AOL Inc provides a clear indication of the massive changes that have hit the UK over the last year. AOL UK has been hit hard by the advent of subscription-free services, a position it hopes it will be able to redress when it officially launches its subscription-free Netscape Online service next week. Yesterday, Bob Pittman, AOL president and CEO said: "This membership milestone is strong evidence that AOL is, by far and away, the pre-eminent mass market interactive brand." Whether the same can be said of AOL UK is another matter. ® Daily Net finance news from The Register

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