Accenture Technology Ventures Has Equity Stake in Qpass
MILIA CONFERENCE, CANNES, 14th February 2000 - Plans to deploy Europe’s first commercial infrastructure for the distribution and sale of digital content and services on the Internet were announced here today by Accenture, a leading global management and technology consulting firm, and Qpass, the leading provider of services for selling digital content.
Aimed at transforming the European market, the new services will enable the web-based distribution of innovative digital products, including interactive games, personalised news services and music on demand. The plans are part of a broader equity investment relationship between the two firms.
Today’s leading content companies face formidable hurdles to creating a profitable on-line business, ranging from high infrastructure costs to long development cycles. As a result, many companies have withheld valuable web content despite recognising that their consumers will pay for relevant, high value digital products from trusted brand owners.
Since its U.S launch in June 1997, Seattle-based start-up Qpass has enabled content providers to offer innovative digital products cost effectively, increasing revenues, while giving on-line consumers a mechanism for quick and easy purchasing.
Relieving content partners of customer registration, authentication, billing, merchandising, promotions, and continuing customer care, Qpass lets them focus on what they do best - creating valuable, brand-name content from music to photography, news to premium research. More than 1.9 million products are currently available from Qpass, including offerings from leading media companies such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Corbis, the world’s largest digital image library.
In the United States, Accenture has been involved in all aspects of the Qpass business since its launch. Accenture’s involvement continues today as it joins forces with Qpass to make digital content commerce succeed in the European marketplace. In addition to developing architectures that accommodate multiple payment methods, currencies, languages and regulations, the firm is also introducing Qpass to its many clients and contacts among Europe’s major media organisations.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Bill Barnard, Accenture’s Managing Partner, Media & Entertainment - Europe, said, "The extension of our pioneering relationship with Qpass into Europe is an exciting prospect. The potential growth of digital content and services here is tremendous, and Qpass has the energy and experience to succeed. We will be helping them tackle the challenges unique to the local markets of Europe and realise their vision of a seamless global service."
Jackson L. Wilson, Managing General Partner of Accenture Technology Ventures and a Qpass board member added, "Europe is poised to become an eCommerce powerhouse and is already a hotbed for technology innovation. This investment underscores our belief in the value that the Qpass infrastructure can deliver as European businesses accelerate their transition to the electronic economy."
"A significant percentage of Qpass members hail from Northern Europe," said Chase Franklin, co-founder and CEO of Qpass. "We believe this demonstrates a large, untapped demand for European content products. With Accenture’s assistance - in technology services, funding, business development acumen, and access to the global marketplace - we believe that we will be able to meet our aggressive objective of deploying the Qpass service in Europe in the second quarter of 2000."
Notes to editors:
Qpass provides the Qpass Digital Commerce Service, the first end-to-end business infrastructure for marketing digital content and services. Qpass creates new revenue streams from the sale of digital music, financial data, videos, services, images and news reports, while reducing overall operating costs. Qpass is the quickest and easiest way for consumers to buy digital content, which means repeat purchases for partners. Over 1.9 million digital products are currently sold through Qpass, from partners such as The New York Times on the Web, The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, the Los Angeles Times, Forbes.com, Corbis, Morningstar, and many more. Founded in Seattle in 1997, Qpass currently employees more than 120 people. For more information, visit Qpass at http://www.qpass.com .