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AOL offers entertainment alerts

Subscribers can receive free e-mails with the latest entertainment news--the company's most recent move in the campaign to keep its users onboard.

America Online on Wednesday began offering its members an entertainment e-mail service--the Internet giant's latest move in its campaign to keep subscribers onboard.

The e-mails, free to AOL subscribers who sign up for the service, cover a range of topics, including entertainment news, movie and DVD release dates, fashion trends, and recommendations of TV shows. The information originates from the company's entertainment and lifestyle magazines, such as People, Entertainment Weekly and Real Simple.

Facing a decline in online advertising revenue and its dial-up subscribers, AOL has been trying to prevent its users from defecting.

Central to this campaign has been an attempt to improve its service by offering content, exclusively to its members, from its corporate cousins. The media giant in March restricted the Web sites for Time Inc.'s entertainment magazines to AOL members, subscribers and newsstand buyers.

Meanwhile, in the same month AOL launched a broadband version of its service in hopes of convincing defectors to stick with their AOL service while on someone else's access pipes. AOL hopes this "bring your own access" strategy will allow it to serve the growing number of broadband households without losing recurring subscribers.

AOL's competitors, such as Yahoo and MSN, have also launched broadband versions of their sites, but they are tied more closely with access providers; Yahoo is paired with SBC Communications, and MSN is with Verizon. AOL has a deal with cable giant Comcast, but the service has yet to launch.

The entertainment alerts will be added to a list of other e-mail alerts on AOL, including one for the U.S. Armed Forces, Major League Baseball and AOL Amber Alerts, notifications for child kidnapping cases.