CompuServe goes flat now numbers hit stability

CompuServe UK is to introduce a flat-rate subscription to align itself with its American sister-company. Sources have revealed that the company will be 'going flat' from today.

CompuServe reckons it has some 400,000 users now, all "professional consumers", with no climb in numbers from last year. Up from 200,000 in 1996, the service has grown negligibly in the last twelve months. "That's intentional," said UK managing director Martin Turner, who now has a stable subscriber-base that is "prepared to pay more" for the exclusivity of being part of a club without the playground noise of cheaper services. "We're not trying to compete with all the Demons, AOLs or local providers," he said. "Our users are sophisticated, hence our price point is higher."

For £17.95 a month, subscribers get access to all features -- bar some premium services that will retain a chargeable fee -- including email, forums, and reference titles.

CompuServe deliberately avoided the low-price norm of £10 per month. "We considered that but flat rate is suicide at [that price]," said Turner.