Connie spirits away £6m in AOL TV ad

Internet Service Provider AOL has spent a cool £6 million on a TV advertising campaign featuring Connie, the online genie.

The ad, which went live this week and runs for 12 weeks, marks the first time an Internet acccess provider has advertised on national TV, according to the company. The ISP hopes that Connie -- who made a brief appearance in the Fifth Element with Bruce Willis -- will woo consumers and be seen as one of the family, as she guides people learning to use the Net.

Half a million users now subscribe to AOL UK according to figures released this week making it the most popular online service in the UK. AOL found that the amount of time users stay online has also increased. The number of daily sessions has gone up from 250,000 a year ago to nearly 500,000, roughly a session per day per member.

Jonathan Bulkeley, managing director of AOL UK says the service attracts a wide range of people, including customers who have just bought their first computer. "Our members clearly believe that AOL offers the best value in Cyberspace," he said.