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AOL, Time Warner turn magazine On with relaunch

The two companies plan to relaunch Time Digital as a magazine called On, using the Internet giant's marketing prowess to promote the new publication.

America Online and Time Warner said Tuesday that they plan to relaunch Time Digital magazine, using the Internet giant's marketing prowess to promote the new publication.

Under a new title, On, the publication will be sent in February to 1 million readers, including current Time Digital subscribers, and to 300,000 new AOL subscribers in an attempt to persuade them to take a full subscription. That offer eventually could be pitched to all new AOL subscribers, a company representative said.

The move illustrates how the two companies intend to work together on business strategy if regulators allow their merger. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to approve that deal in a decision that could come as soon as this week.

Since announcing their plans to merge last year, the companies have said they will launch new marketing, commerce, content and promotional agreements that build upon various relationships they already have in place.

In a statement, Time Inc. touted On as being a complete "where-to-go, how-to-do-it" resource for getting information on the Internet and consumer technology. Joshua Quittner, a technology columnist for Time Inc. and editor of Time Digital since 1999, will become managing editor of On.

The new publication will cover "everything online and every consumer-electronics product that you can turn on," Quittner said in a statement.

The decision to relaunch the publication under a new name comes as government officials consider whether to put further limits on the AOL-Time Warner merger to temper concerns that the combined company could control the growing instant messaging market.

In December, the Federal Trade Commission approved the deal under a consent decree that Creating a media titan requires the combined company to allow rivals to offer high-speed Internet access over its cable systems. Other issues on the table before the FCC include possible regulation of AOL's instant messaging services and its growing interactive TV businesses.

Time Digital debuted in November 1995 as a quarterly supplement to Time magazine and began selling as a standalone monthly in May 2000.