Reuters Group said it would make its information services available over the Internet by summer's end.
The London-based organization now uses a proprietary network to deliver its news and financial information services to traders and other professionals.
Reuters plans to market the Internet service, Reuters Inform, to the North American energy and the global agricultural industries first. It hopes eventually to sell all its products on the Internet.
"Over time, we'll move in this direction," said Robert Garfield, director of energy and commodity markets at Reuters America Inc. "This is a first step away from the more expensive delivery of today."
The official launch of the service will follow beta tests this month with 50 clients, mostly utilities, farming co-operatives, and grain trading companies. Pricing has yet to be finalized.
Early targets will be small, geographically dispersed trading firms and off-trading-floor customers. "It is easier and cheaper for them to subscribe to an Internet service than for us to run dedicated lines into their offices," Mr. Garfield said.
Reuters Inform customers will be able to go to the Reuters Web site and select, order, pay for, and receive the electronic information products they want.
Reuters anticipates significant savings on administration and distribution costs. "Clients won't have to pay the communication and site fees we traditionally charge, and Reuters will save by not sending someone out to demonstrate the product or technicians to install it," Mr. Garfield said. It also will be able to monitor and analyze how its products are used.
Reuters earns more money selling its news and financial information electronically than through newspapers. About 250 Internet portals publish Reuters news, and 485,000 clients worldwide access its information electronically.
"We're moving our information to a broader audience and distributing it across the enterprise," said Alexander Hungate, executive vice president of marketing for the trading systems division at Reuters America.