With 33.4m users, the Internet is big business and getting bigger.
Durlacher Multimedia, a consultancy associated with City stockbroker Durlacher, has produced an "investment perspective" on the Internet. This is what is says:

n There are 33.4m Internet users, and subscriptions grow by more than 100 per cent a year.

n The UK market will grow from pounds 35m last year to more than pounds 900m by the turn of the century. Current growth is more than 200 per cent a year.

n The World Wide Web doubles in size every three months. There are about 100,000 sites, 75 per cent of which are based in North America.

n The UK generates about 10 per cent of Internet turnover. This will fall to 5-6 per cent by 2000.

n By 2002, more than 200m people will be connected to at least some parts of the Internet.

n The first wave of profitable Internet-related businesses will be in access service provision, software applications provision, consultancy and related hardware provision.

n Fewer than 300,000 UK PC owners subscribe to online companies or Internet service provider.

n There will be increased financial investment in service providers competing for a market of up to five million subscribers in the next seven years.

n The largest service providers will survive because of their economies of scale. Smaller companies will either be taken over, or will move into value-added services such as advertising, electronic publishing, etc.

n Business-to-business content is growing rapidly. Everything from large computers to magazine subscriptions are being bought and sold on the Net.

n Retail sales via the Internet are still very low, but will increase exponentially with the arrival of commonly accepted security standards by the end of this year.

n Alliances are already being formed to produce a torrent of highly branded, well-structured Internet "programming".

n Telecom companies are starting to take the Internet seriously, because of the pressure it is putting on bandwidth, and because cheap "Internet telephone" will threaten their business.

n Cable companies may become big beneficiaries of the Internet, as they have the bandwidth to deliver information at speed.

n Peripheral industries such as cybercafes and Web design and production are likely to exceed pounds 65m in UK sales this year.

'The Internet in 1996 - An Investment Perspective' costs pounds 3.50. Durlacher Multimedia 0171 628 4306. e-mail: durlacher@mail.bogo.co.uk.