Multimedia growth in hands of Internet

The Internet should fuel growth in multimedia applications but it's still uncertain what impact telcos and broadcasters will have on the market, according to a report from Frost and Sullivan.

The multimedia market could reach $38.34 billion by 2003, said the report, which admitted that multimedia is now "mainstream" and has "nearly run its full course." However, it added that there is still considerable debate on how multimedia applications such as home shopping and video on demand will be introduced into the home, with telcos, television - both cable and satellite - and PC suppliers, all vying for the definitive solution.

"As the market grows, it will begin to merge with telecommunications on one side and the television on the other," said Norman Bartlett, the author of the report. "This merging is already creating some interesting developments in the business. The expansion in computer applications will be a major driver. The growing interest in video telephony on the PC will have a major effect on the working environment in offices."

Multimedia applications in general are mainly used in education, added the report, accounting for 33.8 per cent of overall revenues in 1996, but this will become less significant, it said.

The largest market for multimedia will still be Germany with 23.9 per cent, with the UK in second at 15.5 per cent. The largest growth over the next five years will be in central and Eastern Europe.