ONLINE, TIME Is MONEY: INTERNET GROWTH AND THE COST OF ACCESS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND EUROPE
The World Wide Web is already an important tool of promotion and franchise extension for legacy media around the world. Streaming media technologies, somewhat crude in narrowband dial-up access mode, are forecast to enable delivery of full-motion digital video and audio when broadband connections to the Internet are more commonplace (Datamonitor, 1999). When the public commercial Internet emerged during the mid-1990s, the world’s media and telecommunication systems were already engaged in a transformation from analog to digital technology. The rapid growth of the Internet accelerated this process and established the Internet’s technical protocols as standards for virtually all digital networks. Soon, all media content will be deliverable through any digital connection; broadcasters, cable and DTH satellite television firms, telecoms, and joint ventures between legacy and new media will compete for the attention of “media audiences” (“BBC fights,” 1999; Goff, 2000). Observers worldwide view the 2000 merger between Internet access provider America Online (AOL) and media conglomerate Time Warner as a prototype for media firms in the coming broadband era.