Swedish Internet portal to advertise heavily in France

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PARIS--Swedish Internet and publishing company Spray continues its march across Europe this month with the launch of a French division, Spray.fr, that will offer Internet access and a range of portal services.

Spray's French expansion comes on the heels of successful site launches in other European countries, from Germany to Italy and across Scandinavia.

The business model for the French site will focus on strategies already put into play by other recent entrants to the Internet market. Spray will charge users a monthly service fee for a package including Internet access, e-mail and a fixed number of telecommunication connection charges. It will supplement revenues by taking a percentage from e-commerce transactions carried out with a small number of partners, as well as through banner advertising.

The Stockholm office of McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Spray's international lead agency since its creation in 1995, has coordinated the initial $2 million media campaign with McCann's Paris operations. The Nov. 15 to Jan. 31 launch campaign -- to include cinema, print and radio ads -- will be combined with an Internet banner campaign run by Tequila Interactive, Paris, a division of BDDP.

National Internet access leader France Telecom has not taken the entry of the Scandinavian upstart lightly. The company has upped national advertising for its Wanadoo service and announced plans to strike back in Spray's backyard with the launch of its fifth international Wanadoo portal in Denmark in mid-November.

Launched in France during 1996, Wanadoo has itself been on an expansion craze through much of 1999, inaugurating service in Belgium last April, in the Netherlands last May and in Spain last September, bringing its total European client base to 1.1 million Internet users. The company is adding 16,000 new customers each week, France Telecom said.

Spray has sizable investors. Sweden's Wallenberg family put up $65 million to fund Spray's European expansion earlier this year. Spray owns U.S. Internet agency Razorfish.

Copyright November 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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