Today's online information economy would please Adam Smith. It is a classic capitalistic marketplace, with multiple competitors and informed buyers driving improved products and lower (or at least more slowly rising) prices. The competition is at its most intense for business information. Key databases like Disclosure, PTS PROMT, Dun's Financial Records, and ABI/Inform can be found on several suppliers, which forces competition on the distribution side. On the production side, even stellar databases like those just mentioned are not unique; often comparable information is available on other databases.
Nonetheless, there are exceptions to this competitive scuffling. One of the biggest is Thomson Financial Networks, which produces the important and unrivalled Investext database. Investext contains full text reports on companies and industry sectors prepared by over 200 investment banks and research firms. The reports, which cover thousands of companies and dozens of industries in the United States and abroad, are a rich source for corporate intelligence, market data, and trends. The database is available on several leading online services, including Dialog, Nexis, Dow Jones News/Retrieval, and NewsNet, as well as from Thomson's own online service.
Thomson has just taken another great step toward enlarging its information monopoly with the announcement of its MarkIntel Master, MarkIntel, and BondText databases. These three files exemplify the Thomson practice of bringing hitherto private market research into public access. All three are based upon the same kind of limited distribution, high-priced research reports that have made Investext so popular among all kinds of business researchers. As if this weren't enough. Thomson has also rebuilt its own online service. Investext/Plus has been renovated and upgraded as I/PLUS Direct, which has the new Thomson databases and new search features.
Thomson Files Break New Online Ground
MarkIntel Master contains reports prepared by leading consulting and research firms for private clients. The database's initial contributions include research companies in several major industry sectors:
Kline & Co.--Speciality chemicals and cosmetics.
Ducker Research--Construction products and industrial components.
Decision Resources - Biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications.
John S. Herold--Oil and gas.
Forrester Research--Computers, software, and networks.
MarkIntel Master contains reports on companies, including private companies, and industries in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The company reports average approximately five pages, and discuss strategies, products, market share, and customer perspectives. The industry reports are longer--10 to 30 pages--and examine technologies, markets, forecasts, and trends.
The database has over 2,000 reports published from 1988 to 1992. There is an embargo period for reports from several providers, which results in a delay, sometimes of several months, between their distribution to clients and their appearance online. The list of contributers will be expanded to provide coverage of additional companies and industry sectors.
MarkIntel is a companion file to MarkIntel Master. It differs in that its contributors are general market research firms, rather than the specialty consulting firms that contribute to MarkIntel Master. The initial supplier to MarkIntel is market research leader Frost & Sullivan. Over 1,000 F&S reports are currently available in health, chemicals, electronics, autos, energy, and power systems. F&S reports in biotechnology, defense, aerospace, automation, and communications; data processing will eventually be added.
F&S company reports include company profiles, strategies, and five-year projections; industry reports cover market …