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ISCH COST Action A20
The Impact of the Internet on the Mass Media in Europe

The main objectives of the Action were to track the ways in which the development of the internet impacted upon the mass media. This general objective was broken down according to the nature of the media involved, since they have different relationship with the internet. For example, music requires very much less bandwidth than television. Accordingly, the work of the Action was conducted following five lines of enquiry:

1. Music. Already at the start of the Action, peer-to-peer file sharing (e.g. the then version of Napster) was having a major impact on the ways in which music was acquired, and thus upon the business models of music companies. Work on this topic centred around changing methods of distribution and the resulting issues of copyright.

2. Printed media. Already at the start of the Action many newspapers already had websites, although none in Europe had managed to develop successful business models to support them. Work on this topic focussed on trying to classify different kinds of online media, and on understanding the relationship between offline and online news.

3. Film and television. The bandwidth demands of these media meant that their potential development on the internet remained in the future for the duration of this Action. However, many of the predicted characteristics, notably interactivity and video-on-demand, were to be found in digital systems, and work on this topic focussed on trying to understand the ways in which such innovations were used by audiences.

4. Radio. This medium is relatively little studied today and work on the specific issues involved in its relationship to the internet had to begin from a very basic level. Work on this medium focussed on the ways in which the internet permits different kinds of relations between broadcasters and the audience.

5. Cross-media issues. Some important aspects of the impact of the internet, for example copyright problems, are not exclusive to one medium and these topics were studied across a range of different media, although as in the case of music it was the case that issues were first posed most sharply in particular one particular medium.

The Action attracted a large number of participants. 23 countries were represented on the Management committee. The Action held three substantial conferences (the last one with more than 100 participants) and numerous working meetings. The Action produced six edited volumes of findings and a large number of scholarly papers.

(Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.)

General Information*

Chair of the Action:

Prof Colin SPARKS (UK)

Science officer of the Action:


Administrative officer of the Action:

Ms Carmencita MALIMBAN


Action Fact Sheet

Download AFS as .RTF

Memorandum of Understanding

Download MoU as PDF

Progress Report

Download Progress Report as PDF

Final Report

Download Final Report as PDF


Action website:

* content provided by e-COST.
Data is synchronised once per night.


Last updated: 02 May 2011 top of page