July 31, 2006, 12:00 AM

AOL launching video portal containing free and paid digital content

AOL later this week will preview a beta version of its new, free AOL Video portal. AOLvideo.com will enable consumers to find, watch and share millions of videos from across the web. It also will sell digital video content from numerous sources.

AOL later this week will preview a beta version of its new, free AOL Video portal. AOLvideo.com will enable consumers to find, watch and share millions of videos from across the web. It also will sell digital video content from numerous sources.

The video portal will include more than 45 video-on-demand content channels with thousands of hours of video programming from popular entertainment brands, organized and accessible via video search, browse and an interactive programming guide. The portal will feature free streaming content as well as downloadable full-length content for purchase that can be viewed on multiple devices and PCs, online or offline. In addition, the portal will include AOL’s new UnCut Video offering, which enables users to upload and share videos online.

When it launches this week, AOL Video will offer paid and ad-supported content on more than 45 video-on-demand channels, including many programmed by new video content partners including A&E; Television Networks, MTV Networks, Nickelodeon , National Lampoon, TV Guide, Warner Bros. Entertainment and many others. New video channels and programming from additional partners will be added on an ongoing basis.

In other news, the company will release its quarterly earnings statement on Thursday, when it also is expected to announce that it will transform its entire business model to become a free, advertising-driven web portal and e-mail service-and possibly even social networking destination-to compete with the likes of Yahoo, Google, MySpace and others.

The new AOL would be free to broadband users, who can access the Internet sans AOL via their broadband providers and then access their AOL account at AOL.com; the company, however, would continue to charge subscribers who use dial-up access, according to reports leaked to the media.

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