RealTime IT News

World Online Announces New Strategy Following Results

[London, ENGLAND] Pan-European Internet company World Online announced Wednesday a 37 percent increase in revenues for the latest quarter, heavier than expected losses, a new business strategy and many new appointments.

For the three months ending June 30, 2000, World Online increased its revenues to 55.4 million euros (approximately US $52 million) and reported continued growth in its subscriber base. However, losses deepened to 121.3 million euros (US $114.1 million) in the second quarter, worse than analysts had expected

Chief Executive Simon Duffy emphasized that the revenues were better than had been forecast and were mainly due to growth in World Online's network business.

World Online's new strategy has been hammered out in an intensive, six-week session of self-questioning following the resignation of Chairwoman Nina Brink and the appointment of James Kinsella in her place.

Essentially, the new strategy seeks to maximize the use of World Online's pan-European network, turning the company from being an incumbent-dependent ISP to becoming an interconnected IP network operator with customer billing relationships.

Kinsella said that the move towards owning more of the network would position World Online as a potential leader in telephony-based broadband delivery systems.

"Our revised portal strategy -- de-emphasizing original content and with a focus on partnerships to develop vertical portals -- takes us away from competing with the major media companies and instead enables us to work with them to deliver a broad range of content," said Kinsella.

Translating the strategy into action, World Online is being restructured into three core-business units providing Internet access, portal and business services.

As an access provider, World Online says it aims to provide efficient services via dial-up, ADSL and broadband. In its portals, it plans to shift the emphasis from original content production to content aggregation, while in its business services unit it will partner with application service providers (ASPs) to offer customers a complete range of broadband, voice, data and video services.

Top appointments announced by World Online include Peter Randall as chief operating officer, Klaus Landefeld as chief technology officer, Martin Stever as VP advertising and e-commerce, and Debby Fry Wilson as chief communications officer.

Having acquired telco licenses in seven countries, World Online says it anticipates six more by the end of the year.

Other projects currently being implemented are the launch of ADSL services in Denmark, the Netherlands and the U.K., the introduction of Internet-enabled television in partnership with an electronics OEM in the U.K. and, in the third quarter, the launch of a WAP portal.

With 2.4 million active subscribers in June, World Online claims to be the top pan-European service provider.