NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
America Online is expected to put more marketing focus back on dial-up service and the price of its service, according to a published report.
Trade publication Advertising Age, citing advertising agency sources, says the No. 1 Internet service provider also will have 2004 ad spending about in line with 2003 spending, rather than a doubling of its ad budget to $300 million, as had previously been reported.
But AOL says it's not changing its approach. "The idea that AOL is changing its advertising approach going forward in 2004 is false," said Ruth Sarfaty, spokeswoman.
America Online, which like CNN/Money is a unit of Time Warner Inc., has not been emphasizing its shrinking, low-margin dial-up service for the last year.
Instead its marketing campaign has tried to get customers to switch to its higher-priced high-speed service, known as broadband. It also tried to convince AOL customers who have switched to cable or DSL service from other providers to keep using AOL, a plan known as "Bring Your Own Access."
The company saw a decrease of 830,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter, and 2.2 million for the year, to give it 24.3 million subscribers, but subscription revenue rose during the year as an increase in broadband customers more than outweighed the loss of dial-up customers.
The company announced last week that Len Short was stepping down as executive vice president of brand marketing.
The company was a major advertiser on this year's Super Bowl, the highest-priced advertising event of the year when 30-second commercials cost an estimated $2.25 million. The company was also the sponsor of the halftime show at the game, which erupted into controversy when singer Janet Jackson's breast was momentarily exposed. AOL said after that show that it might ask for some of its money back.