AOL: Movies & Money

David Cassel (
Fri, 1 Nov 1996 21:59:43 -0800 (PST)


	  	   M o v i e s   a n d   M o n e y


Apparently AOL is branching into movie production.  A film called "Beggars
and Choosers" is scheduled for Showtime in 1997. The L.A. Times described
it as a made-for-TV movie about "intrigue and back-stabbing at a
television network ranked last in ratings"--which will also be published
as a book.  AOL is also working on a game show for children. 

But they didn't return calls from the Associated Press about the
controversial "default double" plan--which switches all members to
$20-a-month pricing unless they pro-actively request to retain the
$10-a-month plan most currently use.  A spokesman for Washington's
Consumer Federation of America characterized it as unfair.  (Tomorrow's
Boston Globe will also do a story on the pricing--online at

It's been a busy week.  "The new, new AOL," Laurence Zuckerman quipped in
the New York Times, saying Steve Case "tried the patience of many on Wall
Street."  The article echoed the Washington Post's concerns on AOL's $400
million one-time charge for accumulated marketing expenses:  a New York
management firm commented, "When you cut through the noise, the facts are
that this company has never made any money."  The firm also noted that AOL
used different accounting practices for their taxes--which qualified them
for tax breaks--and that AOL said nothing when Wall Street estimated
profitability over the next two quarters, though in fact the company was
scheduling over $400 million in debt payments. 

NASDAQ closed higher Friday--but AOL dropped over 5%.  They gave up the 7%
bounce they picked up after Tuesday's pricing announcements. 

And a technology reporter e-mailed a funny story.  "I foolishly downloaded
the 32-bit/Win95 version of AOL...all 11.4 MBs.  Wouldn't you know, it
hangs during the install."  Ouch!  "Bear in mind that it will take a
minimum of 1 hour and 40 minutes to download AOL 3.0 for Windows 95," the
help screen warns.  The system requirements given were

	*Pentium, with a Mouse	
	*Windows '95	
	*16 MB RAM
	*35 MB disk space
	*256 color monitor 
	*14.4 bps modem or higher
	*Phone line

This created a great deal of confusion on the AOL bulletin boards--the
next line said "If your computer does not meet these requirements, you can
still run America Online version 3.0, but you will experience a much
slower response time."  "[M]ost of you access AOL at 14.4 speed, and many
at even slower 9600 or 2400 speeds," Steve Case told members last
December.  "AOL is optimized for slower speeds."  I'm confused... 
(Meanwhile, our reporter friend commented, "Guess I'll wait for the


"AOL Users:  Your Mother Said Never Pay Retail," the banner ad read on the
InterActive Week site.  It was next to the story "GNN:  Casualty of AOL

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