HolidayBuyer's Guide

AOL's future to be revealed next week

Time Warner said on Wednesday it would present an update to its business strategy for AOL in a conference call on August 2 at 8 a.m. PT. It is expected that the company will announce that it is dropping the fees it charges to members for services like e-mail. Time Warner reports its second-quarter financial results that day.

Word of the plan surfaced three weeks ago, but the company has declined to comment. The move is expected to stem the tide of subscribers who have been abandoning the legacy AOL service in recent years. The company has lost nearly 30 percent of its subscribers since September 2002. Meanwhile, advertising revenues have driven Google earnings, and stock, through the roof.

In the first quarter, AOL's revenue was down 7 percent from a year earlier, on a 13 percent drop in U.S. subscriptions revenue, which still represents most of its business. Advertising revenue, meanwhile, rose 26 percent year-over-year.

AOL has a history of business changes and reorganizations. It relaunched its site a year ago, opening up to all Web users content previously available only to paying subscribers.