Customized News Retrieval Service to start Operation in Japan ---Joint Venture brings together Japanese Companies and Individual, Inc. of U.S.

11 June, 1996

Toshiba Corporation
Individual, Inc.
Mitsui & Co., Ltd.
NewsWatch, Inc.

TOKYO -- NewsWatch, Inc., a joint venture of Toshiba Corporation, Individual, Inc., the Massachusetts-based customized news service company, and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. today announced that it will start business operations on June 12. The company will deliver customized news packages to corporate managers, executives and other service subscribers via electronic mail and other means, based on content filtering and analysis of digitized versions of articles in daily newspapers, magazines, periodicals and the wire services.

NewsWatch was established on April 26 in Tokyo by Toshiba Corporation, with an initial paid-up capital of ¥100 million. Individual and Mitsui & Co., invested a further ¥100 million and ¥25 million, respectively, on May 31, raising the total capital of the joint venture to ¥225 million.

NewsWatch brings together Individual's advanced technologies and business expertise in customized news filtering and retrieval, Toshiba's innovative information filtering technology and natural language processing technology -- capabilities that allowed the company to develop the Japanese-language word processor and machine translation system -- and Mitsui & Co's expertise in marketing information services.

News Collection and Selection

    NewsWatch uses a proprietary filtering system that selects and delivers news articles according to subscribers' interests and requirements. NewsWatch editorial managers work with new subscribers to analyze and understand their needs and interests, and define their requirements in "profiles" for the filtering system.
    Every day, information providers under contract to NewsWatch, including newspapers, magazines and other publications, provide the company with digitized versions of their articles. Each article is analyzed by artificial intelligence software, which investigates such factors as frequency of terms, phrases and expressions contained in individual profiles, their location in the article and their syntactical and semantic roles. Results are then matched against subscriber profiles. Each analyzed article is given a priority, so only articles with a high correspondence to a given profile will be selected and delivered to that subscriber.

    Subscriber profiles can be fine-tuned to modify or enhance article selection, as necessary, by analyzing subscriber satisfaction with the service and incorporating the results into the profiles.

Newspapers covered

    Initially, information providers will include such major daily papers as the Mainichi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Nikkan Kogyou Shimbun, Nihon Kogyou Shimbun, Nikkei Sangyou Shimbun and Dempa Shinbun, as well as magazines, wire services, and local trade and business newspapers. NewsWatch will start operation with more than 25 media sources, who are expected to provide as many as 10,000 articles a day. The company will gradually expand the scope of coverage to more information providers.

Types of Services and Fees

    Selected articles are delivered to subscribers by e-mail or by facsimile service, every morning, Monday to Friday. Subscribers are offered articles in two forms: full-text, the whole text of the articles; and Brief, the headline and part of selected articles.

    "Economy" service provides 1,250 full-text and 2,500 in-brief articles a year and costs ¥600,000; "Standard" service provides 2,250 full-text services and 1,500 in- brief articles and costs ¥1,000,000. Brief service alone is available at ¥60,000 per year.

    Service Name/
    Types of Service
    Number of articles
    (per year)
    Service charge
    (annual/plus tax)
    NewsWatch Economy
    (Full Text)
    Whole Text: 1,250
    NewsWatch Standard
    Whole Text: 2,250
    NewsWatch Brief Brief: 3,750 ¥60,000

    *The full-text of any given article is available on request to "Brief" service subscribers, at ¥400 per article.

    An English-language service based on articles covered by Individual, Inc. is also available on request.

    NewsWatch's initial coverage will be of electronics, including multimedia, information systems, telecommunications and semiconductors. It will be expanded to cover finance, distribution and the environment.

Outline of NewsWatch, Inc.

President Kiyoshi Yanai,
Head office 2-1, Ginza 5-chome, Chuo Ku, Tokyo
Paid up-Capital ¥225 million
Date Established April 26, 1996
Employees 20 (initial year)
Revenue(target) 200 million to 300 million yen by the year 2000

Outline of Individual, Inc

CEO Yosi Amram
Address 8 New England Executive Park West
Burlington, Massachusetts 01803
Business activities Customized news retrieval and provider service
Revenues US $16.7 million (1995)
Employees 165

Information in the press releases, including product prices and specifications, content of services and contact information, is current on the date of the press announcement,but is subject to change without prior notice.