A Brief History of (AOL) Time (Warner)

America Online Inc. and Time Warner Inc. have a history that spans most of the 1990s. Even before the Time Warner-Turner Broadcasting merger of 1996, AOL had been working with both companies, either paying for content - from People magazine to Bugs Bunny - or getting it in exchange for promoting the companies' media brands.

Here's a look back at how the seeds of the largest-ever media merger were sown.

Spring 1994 - AOL cuts deal with Time Warner to begin offering Time magazine online. Unlike similar deals made today, AOL actually paid Time Warner.

June 1994 - Time Warner's Warner Bros. cuts its first content deal with AOL to produce an online version of the "Extra!" television show, plus "Kids' WB."

Summer 1994 - Cartoon Network, a division of Turner Broadcasting, cuts a three-year deal giving AOL exclusive rights to its online content. The deal is renewed in 1997.

March 1996 - AOL's Greenhouse Studios division launches The Hub, a entertainment and news programming Web site for young adult males, co-developed with Time Warner's New Line Television unit.

July 1996 - Greenhouse Studios, in conjunction with Time Warner, launches Thrive, a health and fitness site.

October 1996 - Bob Pittman, a former Time Warner executive, is hired to head AOL Networks. He's named president and COO within the next 18 months.

April 1997 - AOL renews its agreement to carry Warner Bros. Online programming. "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" is one of the new programs carried exclusively on AOL.

October 1998 - Time Inc. New Media, a Time Warner Internet unit, pulls the People Web site off Pathfinder and makes it available online exclusively to AOL members.

December 1998 - Warner Bros. releases "You've Got Mail!", a movie in which AOL gets ample product placement and a role as consultant to director Nora Ephron.

It grosses over $100 million at U.S. box offices.

May 1999 - New Line Cinema becomes the first movie studio to enter into an extended marketing deal with AOL. The pact, which runs 16 months, plugs New Line releases.

January 2000 - AOL and Time Warner agree to merge. At the new firm, AOL's Steve Case assumes the role of chairman, and Time Warner's Gerald Levin takes the CEO title.

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