AOL 9.0: A year too late?

Question #1: What will dial-up and broadband Internet users pay for?
Check off the items you think will sell:
1) Exclusive videos and streamed live performances of popular musicians
2) Net-only outttakes from Smallville and other WB shows
3) People.com stories and photos
4) ABC news stories
5) Blogging software
6) Online photo albums
7) Email
AOL is betting that these offerings will be the extra hook to keep current subscribers paying $23.95 month and lure new broadband subscribers to pay an extra $14.95 a month.
Currently, the core of AOL’s $9 billion in annual revenue has been from subscribers to the ISP services. Since the broadband offering was launched in April, and despite the heavy promotion, the company has acquired just a modest 1.4 MM broadboad subscribers willing to pay $14.95 a month for AOL content and services, even as their connectivity comes from somewhere else. There’s no telling how many of those subscribers are households with kids ages 8-15, who have to have IM for their friends (and whose parents don’t realize that AIM is the same thing).
I’ve seen 9.0 and it is excellent, but should it have come out a year ago?
Last summer, as I recall, the old regime of AOL–the millionaires who’d spent 5-7 years at the service and were dividing their attention between their senior executive positions and their house at the shore, airplanes, vineyards in Napa, etc–were pretty happy with 8.0 and it was only after they were fully swept away that a massive push began to improve an offering scheduled to come out in just a few short weeks.
9.0 was conceived of at that point as the way to do things right, but whether it’s right or not, only the marketplace will tell if AOL 9.0 is a year too late. The huge drop in AOL subscribers in the past quarter shows that changing address books and email addresses isn’t the same barrier to change that it was for consumers a few years ago–the question now is whether folks will stop and take a look at 9.0, dig into their pockets, and pony up, or whether they’re going to breeze past on their way to cable modems and DSL. Almost every friend I have has switched off the service, even the most non-techie ones and the people I know who have stayed either have free accounts, have children under 15, or want the continuity of their email address staying the same (that would be me right now).