AOL REZONES SOME OF ITS CYBERSPACE
AMERICA ONLINE INC., which bills itself as the nation's No.1 mass-market consumer online service, is quietly launching network services targeted at business customers. On June 19, AOL signed a contract with Novartis that will give the Swiss drug company a special area online. The Novartis section, which will be carried by both AOL's computers in Reston, Va., and on Novartis' servers on the Web, will let Novartis offer information to doctors who sign up. And unlike regular AOL users, corporate customers can get a special toll-free access number, thus cutting down on the busy signals they might get during sign-on attempts.
Corporate-focused services are expected to have an important impact on next year's revenues, says AOL. Under such setups, AOL usually collects up to $500 annually for each customer who signs up for the new corporate network service. While Novartis disclosed its customer base to be an estimated 25,000 health professionals, it did not disclose the price it is paying AOL. Still, AOL expects a half-dozen other businesses to sign similar deals by yearend.
EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG
Updated July 25, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.