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The rapid growth over the last few years of online services designed to appeal to a mass market audience in the United States encouraged many of the companies operating these services to consider launching them in Europe. This paper concentrates primarily on the European market of online services. The services fall into three categories: United States-owned services which are available and supported in Europe (for example America Online); European-owned services marketed in more than one country (for example Europe Online); and European-owned services marketed in one country (for example UK Online). The following factors which are likely to affect the rate of growth of subscribers to online services in Europe are discussed: installed base of PCs and modems; teletext; telecommunications costs; value added tax; language; information culture; electronic mail; and electrnoic shopping and banking. Taking into account these market development issues, some critical success factors for market potential and business prospects for mass market online services in Europe are outlined: market positioning and service differtiation; pricing and billing; marketing; content availability; and defining the basic services. It seems unlikely that there is a sufficient market in any one European country for more than two mass market services, providing they offer national language content and support. (AEF)

Descriptors: Communications, Computer Mediated Communication, Costs, Foreign Countries, Information Networks, Information Services, International Trade, Internet, Marketing, Online Systems, Telecommunications, User Needs (Information)

Autor: White, Martin


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