P> On-line service usage soars during 1995: Powered by potent increases in the consumer segment, subscriptions to on-line services skyrocketed to nearly 15 million in 1995, according to Electronic Information Report's Year-End On-line Subscriber Survey. The industry posted a net gain of more than 5.7 million subscribers last year, according to the survey.

Driven by the explosive popularity of the World Wide Web among government and commercial entities, and the increasing number of new users in cyberspace, consumer services increased 86.8 percent to reach 11.4 million subscribers at the end of 1995.

America Online was the leading consumer service, finishing the year with 4.5 million subscribers, a 200 percent gain from 1.5 million subscribers at the end of 1994. America Online had grown to 5 million by February and has predicted it will have 10 million customers by the end of 1997. Among business services, the report said, LEXIS-NEXIS was king with 744,000 subscribers, followed by Dow Jones News Retrieval with 233,000.

Motion picture-quality video via the Web: Starlight Networks, Informix, Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard Co. teamed up at intermediaWORLD, March 5, to showcase interactive Web-based multimedia. Together, the companies created opportunities to experience interactive multimedia via the World Wide Web -- as it is meant to be experienced with high-quality, full-frame, or 30-frames-per-second, MPEG video and audio, delivered immediately to the desktop from a Netscape browser. The new tool debuted at intermediaWORLD '96, at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. For more information, contact Mary Lindsay of Lindsay PR at (408) 984-7242 or e-mail

K-III Buys Facts on File: K-III Reference Corp. has acquired the News Services Division of Facts on File Inc. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but industry sources estimated that it was in the $17 million to $19 million range.

The News Services Division produces news products to schools and libraries in print, CD-ROM and on-line formats, K-III said. The Facts on File World News Digest is the flagship product of the privately held New York-based company, which has provided reference information to schools and libraries in the United States and abroad for more than 50 years.

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