The companies today said that Netcenter, the Web portal of AOL subsidiary Netscape Communications, will begin featuring content from Fortune, a Time Warner magazine. Web surfers who go to Netcenter will be able to read articles, columns and features from Fortune focusing on business and personal finance.
The agreement is the latest example of AOL's intention to use the portal as an online hub for accessing Time Warner's content. Executives from both companies have touted the cross-promotion opportunities of using AOL-owned Web properties to drive traffic and brand awareness to Time Warner's myriad content properties.
For example, in February the companies agreed to make CNN.com the premier news service for Netcenter and ICQ instant messaging software. Shortly after that deal, the companies teamed to give a sneak peak of the Sports Illustrated "Swimsuit" issue cover exclusively to AOL members.
However, the tie-ins between AOL's leading Internet audience and Time Warner's popular brands have caused some competitors to raise eyebrows. Already, rivals such as Walt Disney are lobbying Congress to further scrutinize the potential aftereffects of the merger. Competitors fear that AOL Time Warner, as the new company will be called, will shut other content providers from its online distribution services and high-speed cable broadband network.
AOL and Time Warner have promised to open their cable network to outside providers. But some federal regulators have expressed skepticism over whether provisions go far enough in ensuring access to competitors.
Regulators are likely to take a closer look at the proposed merger in the aftermath of Time Warner and Disney's recent dogfight over the carriage of Disney-owned ABC on Time Warner Cable.
AOL and Time Warner expect to close their merger by the end of 2000.