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AOL Europe beefs up web content

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AOL is looking to expand its business in Europe by opening up its content and applications to all net users.

As part of this strategy the firm will be updating its portals in the UK, France and Germany next month to include an even greater spread of content. It's a departure from last summer, for example, when visitors to AOL.co.uk wouldn't have found much more than some marketing blurb and a link to AOL's webmail.

Since then the firm has increased the mount of content available on its portal, but this is expected to increase significantly over the coming weeks.

In a document seen by El Reg, AOL explains how it plans to "open our content and applications to the web audience, comprising a substantially wider base than that of our subscription membership. This will be completed via portal refreshes in UK, France and Germany next month".

By expanding the reach beyond its existing customers, AOL is hoping it can cash in on the massive growth in ad revenues. Indeed, AOL Europe saw its ad revenues increase 35 per cent in the first three months of the year and this looks set to grow as AOL packs its European portals with more content.

News that AOL Europe is looking to push its content comes as the internet giant is carrying out a strategic review of its business. AOL owner Time Warner has hired bankers Citigroup to conduct a strategic review of its AOL Europe business as part of fresh plans to expand its operation. And contrary to a flurry of recent press reports, the sale of parts of AOL Europe is not top of Time Warner's agenda.

Instead, the US media giant is keen to pursue partnerships or third party agreements - much like the $1bn deal it struck with Google last year - to develop its business in Europe. ®

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