Archive for July, 1999


Thursday, July 1st, 1999

Addicted to Noise (ATN) is Australia’s leading music Web site.

Since its inception in 1997 ATN has established itself as one of the most popular music sites of its type, and is generally in the top 1-2 music sites in Australia. It also attracts a wide international audience, with only around half (54%) of visitors coming from Australia. Other countries in which the site is popular include the United States, New Zealand and Japan, with other visitors from virtually every other region on the planet.

Telstra has licensed, on an exclusive basis, all content created and published by ATN and SonicNet (its parent company). The site is powered by a dedicated server connected to one of the largest Internet connections in Australia.

An extensively updated Web Report is available on the global developments in the exciting world of Webcasting: (For more information see: Global Overviews – Internet and E-Commerce – Global Internet Market – Webcasting (TV, Radio, Video).

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Thursday, July 1st, 1999

In February 1999, nearly 1.3 million households (18% of all households) had access to the Internet from home.

This is an increase of 50% (423,000) over February 1998. Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that there were nearly 3.2 million households with a home computer by February 1999, an increase of 10% (287,000) over the February 1998 estimate of 2.9 million households.

Almost 90% of Internet households accessed the Internet frequently from home (once a week or more); 40% accessed the Internet daily, 38% two to six time a week and 10% once a week.

In the 12 months to February 1999, nearly 5 million adults (37% of Australia’s total adult population) accessed the Internet, compared to 3 million (23% of all adults) in the 12 months to February 1998.

In February 1999 the most frequently reported sites for Internet access were work (2.5 million people), home (1.7 million), a neighbour’s or friend’s house (1.5 million) and TAFE or tertiary institutions (1 million).

Of adults who accessed the Internet at home 86% did so frequently, compared with 68% of adults accessing the Internet at work and only 26% at sites other than home or work.

Proportionally, in February 1999 18-24 year olds still had the highest level of Internet use (65% compared to 42% for February 1998); males still accessed the Internet more than females (39% and 35% respectively compared to 26% and 19% for February 1998), and more adults in capital cities accessed the Internet than in other areas (42% and 27% respectively, compared to 28% and 14% for February 1998).

Four hundred and eighty thousand adults used the Internet in the 12 months to February 1999 to make an estimated 1.9 million purchases. The types of goods purchased via the Internet included books/magazines (41% of Internet shoppers), computer software/equipment (40%), music (20%), clothing and shoes (11%), holidays (8%), tickets to entertainment events (6%) and sporting equipment (2%).

By comparison, in the 12 months to February 1998, 207,000 adults used the Internet for shopping.

The survey showed that in the three months to February 1999, 2% of adults used the Internet to pay bills or transfer funds, 2% used an electronic information kiosk to pay bills, 39% used the telephone to pay bills or transfer funds, 64% used EFTPOS and 71% used an ATM. In comparison, in the three months to February 1998, less than 1% of adults used the Internet to pay bills or transfer funds, 29% used a telephone to pay bills or transfer funds, 58% used EFTPOS and 66% used an ATM.

In February 1999, 556,000 adults (7% of all employed adults) were able to access an employer’s computer from home through a modem. An estimated 444,000 of these (80%) had a agreement with their employer to work from home compared with 137,000 in February 1998.

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Thursday, July 1st, 1999

APT Strategies have released the Australian online readership survey which comprises 13,100 weighted respondents.

As with traditional newspapers and magazines, the results allow comparison of duplicated and unduplicated readership of (50) Web sites including all Fairfax Web sites,, Yellow Pages, Telstra BigPond, Alta Vista Australasia,, OzEmail and many more. The results were weighted to a well-established methodology in press readership.

Here are a few highlights:

– 45% have been on the Internet for over 18 months

– 70% access the Internet daily

– 23% are over 45 years old

– 30% earn less than $30,000

– 40% work in Private Enterprise

– 43% say they have bought products or services over the Internet.

The average Online shopper is around 30 years old, male, wealthy, earning close to $70,000 a year. While men are interested in business and news sites, women are looking predominantly at travel and leisure Web sites.

– 63% either own or have a mortgage on their home

– 50% say they are online and for ten or more hours per week

– 42% say they will buy groceries in the next 6 months.

Prediction – bill payments online will boom

– 66% who use the Internet to purchase products are also expecting to pay bills online in the next six months.

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Thursday, July 1st, 1999

Since 1995, the ABA has been formally involved in government regulation and reviews of online content.

The Authority’s first official task was to report to the then Minister, Michael Lee, about the ‘appropriateness’ of developing Codes of Practice for certain online information and entertainment services.

The change of government saw little policy change in this area, as the present Minister, Richard Alston, also directed the ABA in 1997 to investigate and report on online content and ‘matters which might be included in industry codes of practice’.

These initial steps to involve the ABA in content regulation for online services has been followed by the announcement of a co-regulatory scheme by the Minister in March 1999. The scheme is based on Codes of Practice being developed by the industry and the ABA investigation of complaints.

In April 1999, the Minister introduced into the Senate a Bill to amend the Broadcasting Services Act that deals with online services and the regulation of Internet service providers and content hosts. The Bill defines prohibited content and confers a range of new functions on the ABA to deal with Internet regulation.

Meanwhile the ABA has continued to conduct its own investigations into the Internet. For example, last year an Industry Task Force set up by the ABA recommended the ABA receive additional funding to protect children from harmful content on the Internet and to develop a community education program. Official explanation of the need for such action included references to ‘reducing the risk of children being contacted by paedophiles.

More recently, the ABA has published an Australian Families Guide to the Internet.

In May the Federal Budget provided an extra $7 million over four years for the ABA to implement a regulatory framework for online content, as envisaged under the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Bill. Another $150,00 was allocated so the ABA can administer a regime to deal with the problem of access to telephone sex lines by children.

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Thursday, July 1st, 1999

Developments such as electronic trading and the Internet have finally forced the banks to start considering what the consumers have wanted for years – a unified bill payment structure.

They formed BPAY in July 1997. The system is an open one in which all deposit-taking financial institutions can participate. It will greatly improve the efficiency of electronic bill payments.

The BPAY service is limited to bill payments and is not a full-blown electronic commerce service However, this is set to change in 2000.

The volume of BPay transactions using the existing payment service over telephone and Internet is growing at 15% a month, and by mid-1999 more than 1,100 organisations can allow customers to pay their accounts using the service.

The Internet already accounts for about 20% of BPay payments; and 50% of those who do banking on the Internet also use BPay, compared to only 20% of phone banking customers.

By 2000 the company will have a new service that allows consumers to receive and pay all their bills on a single Web site. The company is scouting around for technology companies to act as partners in the new venture, which will be called the Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) system.

Essentially, the service will allow consumers to log on to a central registry and nominate the bills they wish to have sent electronically.

The EBPP service notifies the utilities or other services involved, and the consumer then uses his or her own mailbox provider (or perhaps their bank’s Web site) to set up a secure site where the bills will be received.

The customer simply opens the Web site, sees which bills need paying, and indicates which bank account each payment should be made from. The mailbox provider can also allow customers to authorise automatic payment of bills under a certain amount.

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