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Computer On-line and Internet Use Grows

N-LINE is just fine for many Americans.

In 1994, the number of consumer on-line subscribers grew by 39 percent, and in the first half of this year the number grew by 31 percent to an estimated 8.2 million subscribers, reports the market-research firm FIND/SVP in a recent study.

About 7 million households in the United States subscribe to a consumer (not work-accessed) on-line service, the study finds. Ten million users access electronic bulletin boards, and more than 3 million households access the Internet.

Dominating the industry are CompuServe, America Online, and Prodigy, which hold about 86 percent of the market.

The big three are among those who share consumer on-line revenues, which were between $800 million and $900 million last year and are expected to exceed $1.2 billion this year. The lucrative market is attracting others who have just launched or will launch similar services this year, such as Apple Computer, AT&T, MCI, and Microsoft. The monthly membership fee for consumer on-line services is about $10, which generally includes four or five hours of use.

The study warns that the biggest threat to consumer on-line services is the Internet, which more households access than any single on-line service.

The top three targets for both the Internet and on-line services, the report notes, are home-office consumers, active investors, and women and households with children.

Businesses use savvy managers to keep travel costs down

COMPANIES with skyrocketing travel expenses are increasingly appointing travel managers to help keep such costs under control.

Today, 38 percent of American companies employ travel managers, up 3 percent from 1992 and double the 1990 percentage, notes a recent American Express Survey of Business Travel Management.

Travel managers regularly negotiate with hotels and airlines to get reduced rates for travel and entertainment costs - the third-largest controllable expense at most corporations.

- Staff

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