The AOL-Time Warner merger, announced Monday, is about AOL getting access to Time Warner's content, according to industry analysts.
AOL will be a place where people can watch music videos or buy downloadable music from Warner Music's artists, such as REM (Illustrated: Michael Stipe, REM frontman). In many cases the majors have paid AOL to promote music. The real musical winner in this merger is Warner Music, which will sell more CDs than ever through AOL's e-commerce initiatives, insiders claim.
The tech press has been predicting that e-consumers will be able to click on a video, and buy a CD, but this is not yet possible. AOL is working to turn this into a reality - good news for Warner Music.
On the broadband front, AOL has worked out several ways to buy CDs. For instance, it partnered with a company called Veon that adds links, called hotspots, to online video. The hotspots are invisible until you roll your mouse over the screen, and then the option to buy appears below. Hotspots make the one-click purchase option unobtrusive. Now, of course, AOL can distribute this technology through Time Warner's high-speed online service, Road Runner.
Then there's AOLTV - the interactive TV service that will roll out in March through DirecTV. Under wraps until now, AOLTV was finally revealed last Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las
For AOL, as for everyone looking into interactive TV, the key word is commerce. Companies that can convince people to buy from their TVs will be big winners, analysts claim.