MEDIA: Internet ‘ignored’ by on-line users

UK on-line services provider AOL UK says companies are overplaying the importance of the Internet to consumers and argues that the majority of people use on-line services for communicating rather than for Internet access.

UK on-line services provider AOL UK says companies are overplaying the

importance of the Internet to consumers and argues that the majority of

people use on-line services for communicating rather than for Internet

access.



Jonathan Bulkeley, MD of the American Online and Bertelsmann joint

venture set up in the UK last year, says companies are missing

opportunities to generate money from on-line services by focusing too

heavily on advertising on the world wide web.



Monitoring of AOL’s 5.5 million US subscribers shows that nearly 83 per

cent of on-line usage is not Internet-related. Around 40 per cent of

time is spent on chat and e-mail, while only 17 per cent use it for

Internet access.



Bulkeley says that trend is set to continue with women accounting for an

increasing proportion of on-line users. The proportion of female

subscribers to America Online in the US has leapt from 15 per cent to 35

per cent over the last nine months.



Bulkeley says companies looking to profit from on-line activities should

not concentrate on advertising on the world wide web but make content

deals with on-line providers. These can earn companies up to a 20 per

cent cut of hourly on-line fees, accounting for around 98 per cent of

on-line services revenue.



American Online expects its revenue to hit the dollars 1 billion mark

this year.



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