Internet service provider AOL is exploring new retail sales channels in an attempt to capture more of the consumer mass market.
Last week it announced a partnership with national video rental chain Video Ezy which will see "mum and dad users" able to sign up for an Internet PC as they hire videos.
AOL has partnered with Video Ezy and IBM to supply a PC, unlimited AOL membership and eight videos a week for two years.
Customers can sign up for the deal at one of Video Ezy's 140 retail outlets around the country, an AOL spokesman said. Once Equico Finance approves the details, Tech Pacific will ship the PC to the customer within 21 days, the spokesperson said.
AOL says this is the first retail deal of its type, and hopes it will capture more of the consumer mass market. It says 80 per cent of Australians are not online, and this concept will secure more marketshare amongst the "mum and dad users".
"AOL Australia is focused on meeting the needs of Australian families, and recent research we have conducted has shown us that this is exactly what consumers have been looking for," said Carol Veriga, managing director of AOL Australia.
AOL says the Internet and video rentals are complementary, rather than mutually exclusive.
"The Internet doesn't replace other media - it enhances them," Veriga said.
The AOL EZY Home Entertain-ment Package is $25.99 per week or $112.62 per month for two years, or roughly $2700.
The offer runs until the end of the year. The PC is an IBM Aptiva 13A which comes with a 4GB drive, 40x CD-ROM, an AMD K6 2/400 processor, 56Kbps modem and 32MB RAM.
The Aptiva 13A is a special package for this deal, but an IBM PC with equivalent specs retails for around $1400.