America Online has begun its new video programming service, dusting off old TV shows and airing them to surfers free of charge.

The advertising-supported In2TV, unveiled last month [WAMN: 21-Feb-06], is just one of AOL's efforts to halt its long decline.

The Time Warner division has partnered with stablemate Warner Brothers to make available hundreds of episodes of thirty of its 'classic' shows, via the AOL homepage.

The programs, including Growing Pains and F-Troop, will be rotated monthly. The number of shows available from Warner Bros archives and from other studios and content providers is expected to grow to around three hundred.

AOL's rivals, including Apple Computer's iTunes and Google, are already offering both old and new paid-for shows, at $1.99 (€1.64; £1.13) each.

Analyst Josh Bernoff, from Cambridge, Massachusetts believes more online video providers are likely to follow AOL's lead and adopt an ad-supported model as audiences grow. But he warns that maintaining that model for more current shows is likely to be difficult due to licensing agreements.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff