AOL Speaks Spanish

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AOL Time Warner has launched a Spanish-language version of its Internet service, targeting U.S. Latino customers.

AOL Latino will offer Spanish-language e-mail, antivirus protection, navigation, parental controls and online help, plus a welcome page with daily news and information. Five new Spanish-language content areas: News, Sports, Entertainment, Music, and Lifestyle have also been added, AOL said in a statement.

Bilingual Edge

U.S. Latino users prefer a bilingual service to a solely Spanish one, AOL believes. In a recent survey the company found that 41 percent of Spanish-speaking online consumers want both English and Spanish content, as opposed to 31 percent who want Spanish-only content, it said. AOL hopes to keep both groups happy by giving access to all existing English content along with the new Spanish service for no extra cost, it said.

Partners in the service include the Associated Press, BBC Mundo, EFE, El Diario-La Prensa, Hispanic Business,, La Opinion, and Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

Optimal Features

AOL also announced Wednesday that it will be the exclusive online distributor of content from People en Espanol, the best-selling Hispanic magazine in the U.S., according to AOL. AOL users will have access to celebrity news, cover stories, profiles of Latino celebrities, and photographs from the weekly magazine, AOL said.

AOL 9.0 Optimized users can access the Spanish welcome screen and the five programming channels, but will need to install AOL Optimizado to access the full Spanish features. AOL Optimizado can be downloaded or installed from disks that will be available in retail stores from November, AOL said. It will offer unlimited usage for $23.90 per month, the company said.

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