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II. ACTION LINE 1 :

IMPROVING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE MARKET



1. SETTING THE SCENE

Obtaining reliable information on the European Information Market remains a problem, despite ongoing market research carried out by private research companies, professional associations and public authorities. The reasons for this are the complex subject matter, the fast evolving markets and new emerging products. Market understanding and transparency are, however, becoming particularly important in the transition to an information society that is characterised by fast changing markets and a high level of uncertainty.

In 1995 the IMO will continue with its core activities already established in previous years and will undertake a few new actions to address strategic issues that are of importance for the development of the information industry and for the creation of an information society. These activities will take account of the increasing interdependency and convergence of the different sectors which form the information industry at large by encouraging their active involvement.

2. SUMMARY OF ACTION AREAS

The 1995 work programme is built around the following action areas:

3. SCOPE OF ACTIONS

The IMO will, as far as possible, make use of existing work done by specialist market research companies, other observatories and international organisations. It will also work closely with other Directorates of the Commission, and exploit the results of existing national programmes. This will include continued collaboration with EUROSTAT, in offering the IMO's expertise and opinions concerning the European electronic information services market.

3.1 Collection and analysis of market information

The information market will be monitored by scanning the specialised press and the acquisition of studies provided by specialised market research institutes. The results will be published in the IMO Working Papers and the IMO Annual Report on "Main events and developments in the information market". The analyses will focus on demand and supply issues of dynamic and new emerging markets (e.g. multimedia, geographical information systems (GIS), virtual reality). However, the IMO will also continue to analyse the traditional main media segments (on-line ASCII, videotex, audiotex, CD-ROM), updating and refining previous results.

3.2 The competitive strengths and weaknesses of the European information industry

In the framework of analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the European information industry the IMO will:

The results of these studies will contribute to a better insight into the role of the information sector in the national economies and at European level.

3.3 The monitoring of the structural changes in the information industry at large

Major structural changes of the information industry such as those resulting from mergers and acquisitions, the development of Internet and other networks and convergence of equipment, products and markets will be monitored throughout 1995 and focus on content related activities.

In addition, two strategic studies will be carried out involving relevant actors, as successfully applied in the study on "New opportunities for publishers in the information services market".

A study on the Future of Media and Advertising, started up in Autumn 1994, will assess the future interplay of media and advertising. The study objectives include the description of existing patterns, analysis of world-wide developments, assessment of their implications, global comparisons and assessment of critical developments. The study will provide strategic recommendations to concerned parties in the EU.

A second study will assess the current status and development scenarios of copyright tracing and dealing systems within the EU. The study objectives include analysis of the current situation and developments, assessment of new requirements, international comparison and elaboration of future scenarios, providing a basis for further action.

3.4 The role of information in the economy and in society

The conclusions and recommendations of the workshop in November 1993 at which the European Information Policy Support Network was inaugurated and proposals for co-operative activities had been discussed resulted in the launch of a study on information and citizenship, a subject which is closely related to the issue of access to public information. The study will be finalised in June 1995.

In 1995, the IMO will further develop activities in relation to the information society and the action plan "Europe's way to the Information Society". Emphasis will be put on the socio-economic consequences of a common European information area and the emerging information society.

4. EXPLOITING SYNERGIES

Synergies between the IMO, industry association and other observatories will be exploited in analysing the current and future market developments. Synergy between Member States' efforts and between private and public initiatives will be pursued in carrying out the Member States' market studies. In 1995 the IMO will continue its collaboration with EUROSTAT and other appropriate non-Community organisations.

5. INTERACTION WITH THE MARKET

A close co-operation with professional associations representing the actors in the information market in its widest scope (hard and software producers, networks, content providers, advertising agencies and users) has been established by involving them in IMO activities.

The associations of the electronic information services industry, and members of the network of IMO correspondents will continue to give input with regard to working papers.

6. REVIEW, EVALUATION AND FINAL RESULTS

In general, concerning the evaluation and the review of the single actions, the IMO will scrutinise the results when they are available. The necessary recommendations will be made in collaboration with experts, in order that the actions undertaken meet the full specifications as outlined from the outset. In particular, the network of relays for the dissemination of the IMO working papers, established in 1992 under IMPACT 2, and continuously extended, has been reviewed in 1994.

The analysis of the number of working papers distributed since March 1992 by the decentralised distribution system indicates a substantial increase (5.6 fold) in copies distributed. The total number of working papers disseminated increased from 1717 to 9698 for 14 papers respectively produced in the reference period. The results of a readers' and an agents' survey indicated a very positive reception by readers for subject matter and content. Thus, the decentralised dissemination will be maintained with stronger involvement of the NAPs.

The IMO work carried out under IMPACT 2 has contributed to providing a much better understanding of the electronic information services market in terms of its size, structure and function. The broader context in which the electronic information services industry operates has been emphasised in studies and publications, and the interdependency and convergence of the different sectors that contribute to the processing, delivery and content of information have been highlighted.

The strategic study on new opportunities for publishers in the information services market highlighting the changing environment as regards technology, products, markets and world-wide competition, and the resulting new opportunities for the publishing sector was, including its follow-up activities, well received by the publishing community. It was also well timed considering the breakthrough of electronic publishing which can currently be observed. It is expected that the same approach will be equally successful for the study on media and advertising.

The results of the Member States' Study analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the national and European markets will provide the Commission, governments and various European players with crucial information for their policies and market strategies.

Some initiatives have analysed the role of information in the economy and in society, resulting in three workshops, the creation of an information policy support network, and in a series of case studies examining the effect of information usage on competitiveness. The study on information and citizenship will contribute to the understanding of the role of government information. The results of the IMO's work have been disseminated to an ever-increasing audience of interested parties in the form of IMO Working Papers, Annual Reports, study reports and workshop proceedings. This is underlined by the more than 11,000 copies of IMO Working Papers distributed under IMPACT 2 and more than 4,600 copies of the 1993 Annual Report, compared with 1,180 of the Annual Report 1992, 430 of the Report 1991 and some 260 copies of the first Annual Report under IMPACT 1.

7. IMPLEMENTATION AND BUDGET

Activity Commitment     Commitment     Commitment    Commitment    Commitment  Areas    91 Budget in   92 Budget in   
93 Budget in  94 Budget in  95 Budget in           ECU      %     ECU      %     ECU      %    ECU      %    ECU      
%  7.1      325,859  26    840,000  70    410,000  47   300,000  26   200,000  17  7.2      845,816  68    200,000  17
    245,000  28   360,000  31   430,000  36  7.3          -     -        -     -        -     -       -     -       -
     -  7.4       20,395   2    100,000   8    165,000  19   180,000  16   150,000  12  7.5       56,592   4     60,000
   5     50,000   6    70,000   6    70,000   6  TOTAL  1,248,662 100  1,200,000 100    870,000 100 1,150,000 100 
1,200,000 100    7.1  Collection and analysis of market data  7.2  Analysis of competitive strengths and weaknesses of 
the European       information industry  7.3  Monitoring the structural changes of the information industry at large.  
7.4  Analysis of the role of information in the economy and in society.  7.5  Dissemination of IMO Results  

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