Commercial Online Services Grow to 7.3 Million Customers

Information Today, May 1995 | Go to article overview

Commercial Online Services Grow to 7.3 Million Customers


Consumer online services continued their rapid growth during the first quarter of 1995, according to a quarterly census of 73 electronic services published by Information & Interactive Services Report (IISR).

At the end of March, 7,303,000 subscribers used online services, up 982,650 from the 6,320,650 recorded in IISR's 1994 year-end census. This represents a 15.5 percent increase during the past three months and a 47 percent increase since March 1994.

"The rate of growth in the first quarter indicates that in excess of 10,000 people on average are signing up with an online service every day. If the pattern holds--and there's no reason to believe it won't--we'll break the 10 million mark before the end of this year," said IISR Editor Rod Kuckro.

America Online Inc. was again the fastest-growing system, adding 500,000 new subscribers, a 33 percent increase during the first quarter. CompuServe also registered considerable growth of 250,000, although its tally includes 700,000 customers outside North America.

The top six online services represent 86 percent of the total online audience. They are: CompuServe, with 2.7 million users; America Online., with 2.0 million users; Prodigy, with 1.3 million users; Delphi, with 140,000 users; eWorld, with 80,000 users; and GEnie, with 75,000 users. IISR's research indicates that approximately 20 percent of users subscribe to two or more services, bringing the actual number of online households closer to 5.9 million.

The latest census was taken just as several of the larger online operators announced reorganizations and repositioning, in anticipation of the arrival of Microsoft Network, AT&T Interchange and MCI Communication Corp. …

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