Minitel -- the resistible rise of French Videotex Ewan Sutherland

Groupe Brun Passot

Acknowledgements to Michel Bernasconi (Ceram, France) who first presented this material at an EIASM Workshop in September 1990.

Papeteries Brun/Passot

The stationery trade in France in 1991 was worth 25 billion Francs, an average of FFr 2,2000 per employee. Of this 67% is sold to companies and government, the rest to individuals.

The industry was very fragmented. The leader, Bruneau, had only a 5% market share, while Brun Passot had only 1.8%.

Suppliers were not seen as adding value to their products, which were basicallly the same as those of competitors. The products themselves were consumed and they could not be differentiated using technologies.

Groupe Brun Passot

Brun Passot delivers over 12,000 product lines to over 15,000 locations in France. Daily it handles 10,000 invoice lines.

Customers included:

Figure Growth of electronic business

cute graph

Informatising the business

For clients, administration and stock costs are from 18 to 45 percent of total stationery budget. Stock can represent as much as four to ten months of use.

Under the new scheme, Brun Passot would manage a company's total stationery operation, in terms of:

The aim was to provide just-in-time, on-line ordering of stationery.

Thus Brun Passot could talk in terms of total budget and not of individual products and prices. Consequently, it managed an annual contract with a director, rather than a purchasing manager. It now sells software products and services.

The salesforce is evaluate on the saving made for clients. Sales staff were specifically recruited from the computer industry.

Telecommunications support

1985PC Siclad
1987Internetwork communications
1990Numéris (ISDN)

PC Siclad is Minitel software for a PC.


The strategy was different from rivals and perceived as such by clients.

It presented high switching costs for clients.

Competences in IT were developed and retained in Groupe Brun Passot. The company has shown a willingness to accept new technologies.

A champion supported the changes in business and IT strategies.

[ Introduction | Invention | Marketing | French telecommunications | France Télécom | French videotex | Messagerie Conviviale | Unnatural market | Cour des Comptes | Quickening pace of technology and politics | Conclusion | Bibliography | Chronology | Web links ]
Copyright Ewan Sutherland, 1995.

Ewan Sutherland's home page