This is a media timeline – a chronology of major theoretical, technological, political, social and economic developments in media and communications. Dates of key works are for first publication. [Please feel free to email me if there are any key media events or works of theory that you think are missing here.]





c.3000 BC Invention of writing  
c.2600 BC Earliest known written papyrus  
c.370 BC   Plato, Phaedrus
c.350 BC   Aristotle, Rhetoric
c.62 BC First documented postal service (Rome)  
105 Invention of paper (Cai Lun, China)  
c.200 Woodblock printing (China)  
868 First block-printed book (the ‘Diamond Sutra’) Diamond Sutra (earliest known printed book)
c.1011 First camera obscura (Alhazen) Alhazen, Book of Optics
c.1040 Invention of movable type (China)  
c.1155 First printed map (China)  
c.1230 First metal movable-type printing (Korea)  
c.1439 Gutenberg invents mechanical movable-type printing press  
c.1455   Gutenberg Bible (first major movable-type printed book)
1468 First printing press in Paris  
1476 First printing press in London (William Caxton)  
1506 First printed map to include America  
1513 John Skelton’s A Ballade of the Scottysshe Kynge (earliest known printed song in England)  
1526   First full version of the New Testament in English (trans. William Tyndale)
1564 First Index of Prohibited Books  
1576 First theatre in London  
1599 Globe Theatre, London opens to plays by Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare  
1609 First regular news sheets (the earliest newspapers) printed (Germany)  
1611 Authorised Bible published  
1618-48 Thirty Years’ War hastens the spread of printed news communications in Europe  
1620   Ben Jonson, News from the New World Discovered in the Moon (masque)
1621 The Weekly Newes (first news sheet in England)  
1626   Ben Jonson, The Staple of News (play)
1642-60 English Civil War  
1644   John Milton, Areopagitica (prosaic polemic against censorship)
1646 First printed usage of the term ‘electricity’ in English  
1649 Treason Act (Britain) censors press criticism of Parliament  
1662 Printing Act (Britain) tightens controls on the press  
1688 Glorious Revolution in England sets the conditions for greater press freedom  
1693 Ladies Mercury becomes the first female-readership news publication  
1695 Censorship laws lapse in England  
1702 First regular newspaper in England (Daily Courant)  
1710 First copyright law (Britain)  
1712 Taxation (stamp duty) imposed on British newspapers and advertisements  
1718 First issue of the Leeds Mercury  
1719   Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (first novel in English)
1730 First issue of the Daily Advertiser sparks the growth of newspaper advertising  
1749 Benjamin Franklin’s pioneering experiments with electricity lead him to invent the lightning rod  
1751-72   Denis Diderot et al’s Encyclopedie published in France (first encyclopaedia)
1776 American Declaration of Independence  
1780 First Sunday newspaper (the British Gazette and Sunday Monitor)  
1787 Constitution of the USA  
- Edmund Burke first uses the term Fourth Estate to refer to the free press  
1788 First issue of The Times, London  
1789-99 French Revolution  
1792 Chappe invents semaphore (long-distance signalling system) in France  
1799 First paper-making machine (France)  
1800 Invention of the battery (Alessandro Volta)  
1802 First issue of William Cobbett’s Political Register (flagship newspaper of the British radical press)  
1807 Camera lucida (England)  
1811 First steam-powered printing press  
1812 First advertising agency (London)  
1820 Electromagnetism discovered by Hans Christian Oersted  
1821 First issue of the Manchester Guardian Jeremy Bentham, On the Liberty of the Press and Public Discussion
1823   James Mill, Liberty of the Press
1825   Thomas Curson Hansard, Typographia, an Historical Sketch of the Origin and Progress of the Art of Printing
1826 First photograph (Joseph Niepce, France)  
1829 First typewriter  
1830 First passenger railway (Liverpool and Manchester Railway, England)  
1832 Charles Knight’s Penny Magazine (Britain) inspires the growth of the penny post, especially in the US  
- Phenakistoscope (Belgium)  
1834 Zoetrope patented (England)  
1835 First news agency (Agence France-Presse)  
1837 First commercial electric telegraph (Cooke and Wheatstone, London)  
- Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine (the original design for a programmable computer)  
- Pitman shorthand (popular system of English-language abbreviation)  
- First comic book  
1839 Invention of photography in the form of the daguerreotype process (France)  
- Penny post introduced in the UK  
1841 First issue of the New York Tribune  
1842 First issue of The Illustrated London News (first newspaper containing pictures)  
1843 First telegraph message using Morse code  
- First fax machine (Alexander Bain)  
1844 Cooke and Wheatstone form the Electric Telegraph Company  
1845   Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology (first published in 1932)
1846 Associated Press (the world’s second news agency) formed in New York  
- Printing telegraph (US)  
1850 Magic lantern (photographic) slides  
c.1850 Wet plate photography  
1851 Reuters founded (London)  
- First use of railway telegraphy (Erie Railroad, US)  
- First issue of The New York Times  
1855 Taxation (stamp duty) on British newspapers abolished (began 1712) allowing for the rise of the cheap popular press  
1857 Phonautograph (first sound-recording device) invented (France)  
1858 First aerial photography (over Paris)  
1859   John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
-   Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
-   Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species
1861-5 American Civil War  
1861 First colour photograph (based on James Maxwell’s three-colour method)  
1865 First transatlantic cable  
1867 First commercially successful typewriter (Christopher Latham Sholes) Marx, Capital Volume 1
1869 First full-service advertising agency (N. W. Ayer and Son, Philadelphia) Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy
1870 Education Act sets the conditions for the growth of mass literacy in Britain  
1873 First QWERTY keyboard (Sholes) James Maxwell, A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism
1876 First telephone (Alexander Graham Bell)  
- First microphone demonstrated by Emile Berliner  
1877 Thomas Edison invents phonograph (first gramophone – sound recorder and player)  
- Moving pictures of a galloping horse demonstrated by Edward Muybridge  
- Praxinoscope (France) animation device improves on the zoetrope  
1878 Dry plate photography  
1879 Muybridge invents the zoopraxiscope (first motion-picture projector)  
1880 First (halftone) photo in a newspaper (The Daily Graphic, New York)  
1884 First film in roll form (George Eastman)  
1885   Marx, Capital Volume 2
1887 Heinrich Hertz experiments with (electromagnetic) radio waves  
1888 First hand-held camera (Kodak, perfected by Eastman)  
- First use of celluloid in photography  
- First moving pictures on film (Louis Le Prince)  
- First gramophone disc record (Emile Berliner, Germany)  
1889 Edison’s motion-picture camera  
- Nintendo founded (Japan)  
- First coin-operated public telephone  
1891 Telephoto lens  
- Kinetoscope (William Dickson)  
1892 First long-distance telephone call (New York-Chicago)  
- Eastman Kodak Company formed  
1893 First movie studio (Edison, New Jersey)  
1894 Lumiere brothers patent the cinematograph (first film camera and projector) Marx, Capital Volume 3
- First issue of Billboard (US)  
1895 First wireless telegraphy (radio) signal (Guglielmo Marconi, Italy)  
1896 First issue of the Daily Mail (Lord Northcliffe) pioneers a new journalism of spectacle and sensationalism in the UK  
- Pathe Freres company formed in France (becomes largest film production during the next ten years)  
1897 Marconi founds the Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company Bram Stoker, Dracula (first major novel depicting the mass media age – shorthand, telegrams, news-clippings, etc.)
- First UK recording studio (London)  
1899 Magnetic sound-recording (Valdemar Poulsen, Denmark) Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class
1900 Kodak Brownie becomes first mass-produced hand-held camera Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams
1901 First transatlantic wireless signal (Marconi) Freud, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life
1902 First electric typewriter (US)  
1903 First silent narrative film (The Great Train Robbery, US)  
1904 Wireless Telegraphy Act (Britain) places the General Post Office (GPO) in charge of overseeing developments in broadcasting media  
1905 First neon signs  
- First Nickelodeon (Pittsburgh)  
- British film Rescued by Rover introduces innovative film editing techniques  
1906 First feature film (The Story of the Kelly Gang, Australia)  
- First audio (voice) radio transmission (Reginald Fessenden)  
1907 First slow motion (slowmo) film (August Musger)  
- Theory of television outlined by Boris Rosing  
- Chicago becomes first US city to censor films, triggering fears about the effects of movies on public morals/behaviour  
1908 Northcliffe buys The Times  
- Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC) formed in US to end the domination of foreign movies and monopolise film distribution/exhibition  
- First colour movie (A Visit to the Seaside, filmed in Brighton, England)  
- First newsreel (Pathe Freres, France)  
- First Russian film studio  
1909 8-10,000 Nickelodeons operating in US, attracting 200,000 customers per day Charles Cooley, Social Organisation
- The New York Times coins the term ‘stars’ to describe leading movie actors  
- National Board of Review of Motion Pictures establishes film censorship in US  
1910 First movie star (Canadian actress Florence Lawrence)  
1911 First Hollywood studio  
- International Business Machines (IBM) established  
- The Daily Mirror (Northcliffe) becomes the first UK daily newspaper to reach a circulation of 1 million readers  
1912 British Board of Film Censors (BBFC) established  
- First American Radio Act  
- Irving Berlin’s When I Lost You establishes the form for twentieth-century love ballads  
1913 First Bollywood film  
- Portable phonograph  
- Billboard publishes first list of the top 10 songs  
1914-18 First World War  
1914 Charlie Chaplin makes first appearance as the Little Tramp  
- First Hollywood feature film (The Squaw Man)  
- First colour feature film (The World, the Flesh and the Devil, UK)  
1915 First transcontinental (America) telephone call  
- D. W. Griffith’s controversial film The Birth of a Nation released in US to huge commercial success  
1916   Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics (English trans. 1974)
1917   Freud, Introduction to Psychoanalysis
1919 Radio Corporation of America (RCA) established  
1920 First commercial radio broadcasting in the US (KDKA, Pittsburgh) and Europe Walter Lippmann, Liberty and the News
- Electrical sound recording  
1921 First wirephoto transmitted (Western Union, US)  
- Shortwave radio  
1922 British Broadcasting Company (BBC) formed by the GPO Norman Angell, The Press and the Organisation of Society
- First 3-D film (The Power of Love) demonstrated in Los Angeles Robert Park, The Immigrant Press and Its Control
- First documentary film (Nanook of the North, US) Lippmann, Public Opinion
1923 First issue of Time (pioneering news magazine) Freud, The Ego and the Id
- The Walt Disney Company founded (to become the world’s largest media conglomerate)  
- 80,000 radios in the UK  
1924 2.5 million radios in the US  
- 1 million radios in the UK  
1925 First commercial 35mm camera (Leica) Lippmann, The Phantom Public
- 2 million radios in the UK  
- First radio station in Japan  
1926 First television images demonstrated by John Logie Baird (London)  
- Federal Radio Commission (later Federal Communications Commission) established to regulate US radio (later television and telecommunications too)  
- The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) formed (to become the first US radio and – later – TV network)  
- First weekly music newspaper (Melody Maker) (UK)  
- General Strike in the UK leads to (brief) state control of the BBC  
- British filmmaker John Grierson coins the term documentary  
1927 British Broadcasting Company becomes the state-funded, non-commercial British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Harold Lasswell, Propaganda Technique in the World War
- First BBC disc jockey (DJ) Christopher Stone begins broadcasting John Dewey, The Public and Its Problems
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) launched (to become the second major radio network and third major TV network in the US) Siegfried Kracauer, The Mass Ornament (essay) (English trans. 1975)
- First sound feature film (The Jazz Singer, Hollywood)  
1928 Mickey Mouse debuts (Disney) Edward Bernays, Propaganda
- First regular scheduled television broadcasts (US)  
- First regular coast-to-coast US radio network (NBC)  
1929 Wall Street Crash (the Great Depression lasts until the late 1930s) Robert Lynd & Helen Lynd, Middletown
- Kodak 17mm colour film  
- Flashbulb photography (Germany)  
- Decca Record Company founded  
1930 10-inch 78rpm record becomes the music industry standard F. R. Leavis, Mass Civilisation and Minority Culture
- First car radio (Galvin Manufacturing)  
1931 Times New Roman typeface commissioned by The Times (to become one of the publishing world’s most popular typefaces)  
- First Indian sound film (Alam Ara) triggers the growth of Bollywood  
1932 BBC Empire Service (short-wave) launched (later known as BBC World Service) Q. D. Leavis, Fiction and the Reading Public
- EMI (record company) formed  
1933 First Fireside Chats (radio broadcasts) by an American President (Roosevelt) are a precursor to the Weekly Radio Address F. R. Leavis and Denys Thompson, Culture and Environment
- International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) formed Herbert Blumer, Movies and Conduct
- Television demonstrated by RCA  
- British Film Institute (BFI) founded  
- Radio Luxembourg becomes first major commercial broadcaster to the UK (though without a license it is effectively the first pirate radio station)  
- First Drive-in movie theatre (New Jersey)  
1934 Frequency Modulation (FM) radio demonstrated by Edwin Howard Armstrong (New York)  
- Muzak (elevator music company) formed  
- Half of US homes have radios  
1935 35mm Kodachrome film (first successful colour still film) Hadley Cantril and Gordon Allport, The Psychology of Radio
- First mass-market paperback books (Penguin, London) Lasswell, World Politics and Personal Insecurity
- First audio-tape recorder (Germany)  
1936 BBC television service launched (service is suspended 1939-46) Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (essay) (English trans. 1969)
- Re-launched Life magazine (US) marks a golden age of photojournalism  
- Social science meets public opinion as George Gallup’s survey sampling method correctly predicts the US Presidential Election result – and revitalises the status of the opinion poll  
- Audimeter device attached to US radio sets monitors audience use  
- First live televised Olympic Games (Berlin)  
1937 The Turing machine (Alan Turing’s theoretical computer algorithm device) Charles Madge and Tom Harrisson, Mass-Observation
- Hindenburg Disaster Newsreel Footage  
- BBC Listener Research Department begins gathering audience-research reports  
- First feature-length animated film (Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)  
1938 First foreign-language BBC broadcast (Arabic)  
- Orson Welles’s notorious The War of the Worlds broadcast on CBS radio network  
- First issue of Picture Post (pioneering British photojournalistic magazine)  
1939-45 Second World War  
1939 First Hollywood blockbuster films (Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz) Alfred Lee and Elizabeth Lee, The Fine Art of Propaganda
- 9 million UK homes have radio sets George Gallup, Public Opinion in a Democracy
- 51 million radio sets in the US Madge and Harrisson, Britain by Mass-Observation
1940 First stereophonic sound film (Disney’s Fantasia) Cantril, The Invasion from Mars
- Sega Corporation founded (US)  
- Juke box craze begins in the US  
- Billboard calculates the first ever Music Popularity Chart  
1941 Citizen Kane (Welles) portrays the life of American media tycoon and yellow journalism pioneer William Randolph Hearst Theodor Adorno (with George Simpson), On Popular Music (essay)
- First commercial television (US)  
1942 US Government-owned Voice of America (VoA) begins transmitting live radio broadcasts overseas to Germany  
1943 The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) becomes the third major US radio network (and second major TV network from 1948)  
1944   Max Horkheimer & Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment (English trans. 1972)
-   Paul Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson and Hazel Gaudet, The People’s Choice
1945 First Citizens’ Band (CB) radio (US)  
1946 First regular US television broadcasting Robert Merton, Mass Persuasion
- First TV soap opera (Faraway Hill, US)  
- Sony Corporation founded (Japan)  
1947 First colour television system (RCA)  
- First regular US television network (NBC)  
- First transistor (capable of magnifying electronic messages)  
- Melody Maker publishes first UK (sheet) music charts  
1948 First modern electronic computer (Manchester, England) Lasswell, The Structure and Function of Communication in Society (essay)
- First long-playing (LP) (33 1/3rd rpm) record Lazarsfeld and Merton, Mass Communication, Popular Taste and Organised Social Action (essay)
- Cable television invented (US) Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics
1949 First 45 rpm (single) record George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four
-   Claude Shannon & Warren Weaver, The Mathematical Theory of Communication
-   Carl Hovland, Arthur Lumsdaine and Fred Sheffield, Experiments in Mass Communications
1950 First television remote control (US) Harold Innis, Empire and Communications
- 150,000 TV sets in the US David Riesman, The Lonely Crowd
- Nielsen ratings begin (to become the world’s main system of television audience measurement)  
1951 First live coast-to-coast television broadcast in the US Innis, The Bias of Communication
- 1.5 million TV sets in the US (compared to 1.4 million in the UK) Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride
1952 Sega Corporation relocates to Japan  
- Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) founded  
- New Musical Express publishes first UK (record) music charts  
- First graphical computer game (OXO, Alexander S. Douglas)  
1953 CinemaScope and 3-D cinema  
- First IBM computer (IBM 701)  
1954 First transistor (pocket-sized) radio (Texas Instruments) Frederic Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent
- First network television colour broadcast (NBC, US)  
- National Educational Television launched in the US (replaced by PBS in 1970)  
- First BBC TV news bulletin  
- Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and His Comets  
1955-75 Vietnam War  
1955 Independent Television (ITV) becomes first commercial channel in the UK Elihu Katz and Lazarsfeld, Personal Influence
- Rock ‘n’ Roll record craze begins in US as Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and His Comets plays over the opening credits of the film Blackboard Jungle  
- 65% of all US homes have a TV set (only 4.5 million TV households in the UK)  
1956 First computer disk drive (IBM) Fred Siebert, Theodore Peterson and Wilbur Schramm, Four Theories of the Press
- First transatlantic telephone cable Donald Horton and R. Richard Wohl, Mass Communication and Para-social Interaction (essay)
- 6 million UK homes have a TV set  
1957 First Earth-orbiting artificial satellite (Sputnik 1, launched by Soviet Union) Richard Hoggart, The Uses of Literacy
- First mass-marketed stereophonic LP (New York) opens way for the high fidelity (hi-fi) boom Roland Barthes, Mythologies (English trans. 1972)
-   Vance Packard, The Hidden Persuaders
1958 First integrated circuit (microchip) invented by Jack Kilby (Texas Instruments) Raymond Williams, Culture and Society
- Stereophonic records and the high fidelity (hi-fi) boom Rudolf Arnheim, Film as Art
- Billboard Hot 100 music charts begin  
- Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock) released, later acclaimed as the greatest film ever made  
1959 First major motorway in UK (M1) Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
- TV licences overtake radio-only licences in the UK  
1960 First laser device (California) Kracauer, Theory of Film
- Coronation Street (UK) begins (to become the world’s longest-running TV soap opera) Joseph Klapper, The Effects of Mass Communication
- First worldwide televised Olympic Games (Rome)  
1961 In-flight entertainment introduced Williams, The Long Revolution
- 11 million TV licences in the UK Daniel Boorstin, The Image
1962 Compact (audio) Cassette (Philips, Netherlands) McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy
-   Williams, Communications
-   Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (English trans. 1989)
-   Everett Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations
1963 Assassination of US President John F. Kennedy televised (but not live) Howard Becker, Outsiders
- First instant replay on television (CBS) Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
- First computer graphics program (Sketchpad by Ivan Sutherland)  
1964 Radio Caroline (UK pirate radio station) McLuhan, Understanding Media
- First satellite televised Olympic Games (Tokyo)  
1965 First commercial communications satellite (Intelsat 1)  
- First electronic mail (email)  
1966 Regular colour television begins in the US Jacques Lacan, Ecrits (English trans. 1977)
1967 First satellite television network (USSR)  
- American Film Institute (AFI) founded  
- Pirate radio banned in UK  
- BBC Local Radio begins (Radio Leicester)  
1968 Major political and anti-war protests in France and the US (accentuated by film and television coverage) Kurt Lang and Gladys Lang, Politics and Television
- First computer mouse (Douglas Engelbart)  
- 78 million TV sets in the US (and approximately 200 million worldwide, including 15 million in the UK)  
1969 First moon landing televised across the world Herbert Schiller, Mass Communications and American Empire
- ARPANET (prototype network of the Internet) Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge (English trans. 1972)
- First laser printing (US)  
- Regular colour television begins in UK  
- First video cassette (U-matic, Sony)  
1970 First fibre optics technology as a medium for communication Louis Althusser, Lenin and Philosophy (English trans. 1971)
- Quadraphonic records introduced  
- The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) launched (US)  
1971 First commercial microprocessor (Intel 4004) paves the way for the personal computer (PC)  Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks (written 1929-35)
- First video cassette recorder (VCR) (Sony)  
- First Dolby Sound film (A Clockwork Orange)  
- First floppy disk (IBM)  
- Radio-only licences abolished in the UK  
1972 First mainstream video game (PONG, Atari) John Berger, Ways of Seeing
-   Stanley Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panics
1973 TV coverage of Watergate scandal Daniel Bell, The Coming of Post-industrial Society
- British Phonographic Industry (BPI) formed to fight copyright infringement Albert Bandura and R. H. Walters, Social Learning and Personality Development
- First mobile phone (Motorola) Graham Murdock and Peter Golding, For a Political Economy of Mass Communications (essay)
- Independent (commercial) local radio begins in the UK (LBC)  
1974 First teletext information service (BBC’s Ceefax) Jay Blumler and Katz (eds), The Uses of Mass Communications
- Electronic News Gathering (ENG) begins to replace the older filming technique, opening the way for near-instantaneous breaking news Williams, Television: Technology and Cultural Form
-   Colin MacCabe, Realism and the Cinema (essay)
1975 Home Box Office (HBO) pioneers satellite transmissions on cable TV (with coverage of the Thrilla in Manila), kick-starting rapid growth of cable in the US Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (essay)
- The ‘microcomputer revolution’ begins with the first mass-produced home computer (Altair 8800) Foucault, Discipline and Punish (English trans. 1977)
- First commercial PC (Sphere 1) Jean Baudrillard, Simulations (English trans. 1983)
- Dolby film sound  
- Microsoft Corporation founded  
- Betamax home video cassette (Sony)  
1976 Video Home System (VHS) cassette (JVC) (later defeats Betamax to become the dominant home video format) Williams, Keywords
- Apple Computer (corporation) founded  
- Television introduced to South Africa (the last major developed country to operate a national TV network)  
1977 First interactive cable television (QUBE) Barthes, Image, Music, Text
- Apple II (pioneering mass-produced home microcomputer) Angela McRobbie, Jackie Magazine: Romantic Individualism and the Teenage Girl (essay)
- Pay-per-view (PPV) TV takes off in the US thanks to basketball and – later – boxing Dallas Smythe, Communications: Blindspot of Western Marxism (essay)
- Colour TV licences overtake black-and-white TV licences in the UK Jeremy Tunstall, The Media are American
1978 Dallas (TV soap opera) begins (to become a huge US media and cultural export) Judith Williamson, Decoding Advertisements
- PBS switches to satellite delivery Edward Said, Orientalism
-   John Fiske and John Hartley, Reading Television
1979 First portable audio cassette player (Sony Walkman) Dick Hebdige, Subculture
- News Corporation founded by Rupert Murdoch Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition (English trans. 1984)
- First commercial mobile phone network (Japan) Goffman, Gender Advertisements
-   Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction (English trans. 1984)
-   Richard Dyer, Stars
1980 First rolling (24-hour) TV news channel (CNN) Stuart Hall, Encoding/decoding (essay) (first presented in 1973)
- Ronald Reagan becomes first US President to hail from Hollywood Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave
-   Barthes, Camera Lucida (English trans. 1981)
-   Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (English trans. 1984)
1981 MTV launched (NewYork) – its first music video is Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles James Curran and Jean Seaton, Power Without Responsibility
- Audio home taping legalised in the US Andrea Dworkin, Pornography
-   Said, Covering Islam
-   Goffman, Forms of Talk
1982 First Compact Disc (CD) (Philips) Becker, Art Worlds
- Michael Jackson releases Thriller (to become the biggest-selling album ever) Tania Modleski, Loving with a Vengeance
- Channel 4 (UK) begins broadcasting  
- CD album introduced  
- Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum 8-bit home computers released  
1983 First home camcorder (Sony)  
- First laptop computer (Epson HX-20)  
1984 VCR home taping legalised in the US Anthony Giddens, The Constitution of Society
- Amstrad colour personal computer William Gibson, Neuromancer
-   Janice Radway, Reading the Romance
1985 CD-ROM format established by Sony and Philips Joshua Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place
- Home Shopping Network (HSN) pioneers cable shopping in the US Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death
- Early virtual community (The WELL) Ien Ang, Watching Dallas
- Microsoft launches its Windows software operating system (later defeats competitor Apple Macintosh system)  
- Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) released (first worldwide-successful home video game console)  
- CD single introduced  
1986 Television remote controls commonly used in the US  
- Fox Broadcasting Company (US TV network) founded by Murdoch  
1987 First Digital Audio Tape (DAT) (Sony) (not widely adopted) Fiske, Television Culture
- Half of US households with TV are on cable  
- TV set-top boxes introduced (Pace, UK)  
1988 International Services Digital Network (ISDN) defined Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent
- Sega Mega Drive/Genesis released in Japan  
- First Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) digital radio transmission (Germany)  
1989 Tiananmen Square protests broadcasted across the world Fiske, Understanding Popular Culture
- International television coverage of the Fall of the Berlin Wall Fiske, Reading the Popular
- Nintendo Game Boy (first commercially successful handheld games console)  
1990 British Sky Broadcasting (later Sky) launched in the UK and Ireland Judith Butler, Gender Trouble
- British Broadcasting Act deregulates commercial broadcasters, leading to the sale of regional ITV franchises Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity
- First web browser (World Wide Web) launched by Tim Berners-Lee Tamar Liebes and Katz, The Export of Meaning
- Time Warner formed (the world’s second largest media conglomerate)  
- First commercial digital camera  
1990-91 Gulf War  
1991 Release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) sparks a console war with the Sega Mega Drive (Nintendo prevails) Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
- BBC World News launched Baudrillard, The Gulf War Did Not Take Place
- PC Card (first memory card format)  
- First website and web page ( (Berners-Lee/CERN)  
- Release of Terminator 2 (James Cameron) takes CGI technology to a new level  
1992 First MiniDisc (MD) (Sony) (not widely adopted) Henry Jenkins, Textual Poachers
- Independent (commercial) national radio begins in the UK (Classic FM) Daniel Dayan and Katz, Media Events
- First SMS/text message  
1993 Mosaic web browser popularizes the World Wide Web George Ritzer, The McDonaldisation of Society
- World Wide Web made free to everyone Said, Culture and Imperialism
- First web search engine (ALIWEB)  
- MP3 digital data compression format introduced  
1994 The term Information Superhighway (referring to the Internet) popularized by US Vice-President Al Gore Roger Silverstone, Television and Everyday Life
- Silvio Berlusconi becomes first media mogul to serve as a Prime Minster (Italy)  
- Sony PlayStation launched (proves a major competitor to Nintendo)  
- established  
- Yahoo! founded  
- Wireless data-exchange technology (Bluetooth, Ericsson)  
1995 Invention of a standard-format Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) Bill Gates, The Road Ahead
- National Science Foundation Network (US) hands over the Internet to business and personal interests  
- Microsoft Windows 95 launched  
- Microsoft Internet Explorer browser  
- eBay founded (under its former name AuctionWeb)  
- Craigslist launched  
- Toy Story (Pixar) becomes the first film made entirely with computer-generated imagery (CGI)  
- First issue of Metro (pioneering free daily national newspaper published in many European and North American countries)  
- First DAB radio service (BBC)  
1996 Google begins (founded 1998) (to become the world’s most popular search engine and website) Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society
- Al Jazeera (Arabic satellite network) begins broadcasting from Qatar Bourdieu, On Television (English trans. 1998)
- First digital HDTV broadcast (US) Ang, Living Room Wars
- Universal Serial Bus (USB) technology  
- 60 million Internet users worldwide  
1997 Channel 5 (UK) begins broadcasting Hall (ed), Representation
- Death of Diana, Princess of Wales, broadcast around the world Chomsky, Media Control
- Elton John releases Candle in the Wind 1997 (to become the biggest-selling single ever) Regis Debray, Transmitting Culture (English trans. 2000)
- Plasma TV screens introduced  
- First portable MP3 player (Audio Highway’s Listen Up)  
1998 Digital terrestrial television (DTT) begins broadcasting in the US and UK  
- First commercial Video on Demand (VOD) service in the UK (Kingston Communications)  
- Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) founded  
1999 First Big Brother (Netherlands) marks new craze in reality television  
- Emergence of the blog (web log)  
2000 Dot-com bubble bursts (many web firms cease trading) Jay D. Bolter and Richard Grusin, Remediation
- Broadband cable rolled out in the UK Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point
- First USB flash drive (memory stick) (Trek Technology/IBM)  
2001-Pres. War in Afghanistan  
2001 9/11 terrorist attacks covered on live rolling news media (Fox’s WNYW reports the first plane attack on the World Trade Center within 2 minutes) Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media
- Microsoft releases its first video game console (Xbox) Castells, The Internet Galaxy
- Wikipedia launched  
- Apple iPod and iTunes launched  
- Napster (illegal music file-sharing service) forced to shut down  
2002 Friendster becomes the first major social networking website  
- BlackBerry launched (first wireless email smartphone)  
2003-10 Iraq War  
2003 Myspace founded (sold to News Corporation in 2005) Nick Couldry, Media Rituals
- UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom formed  
2004 Facebook founded (to become the world’s most popular social network)  
- The term Web 2.0 begins common usage  
- ITV plc founded (a single company for all ITV franchises) (UK)  
- Asian tsunami highlights the new media phenomenon of citizen journalism (using mobile phones, camcorders, etc.)  
2005 YouTube launched (sold to Google in 2006) Steven Johnson, Everything Bad is Good for You
- Google Earth released  
2006 Nintendo Wii released (first major motion-sensing video game console) Chris Anderson, The Long Tail
- First Blu-ray Disc (designed to overtake DVD technology) Jenkins, Convergence Culture
- WikiLeaks founded Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams, Wikinomics
2007 Twitter launched Andrew Keen, The Cult of the Amateur
- UK digital switchover begins  
- Apple iPhone released  
- BBC iPlayer released  
2008 Global financial crisis (begun in 2007) deepens significantly Nick Davies, Flat Earth News
- Google Street View released internationally (2007 release in US)  
2009 Digital television switchover completed in the US Castells, Communication Power
- Avatar (Cameron) becomes highest-grossing film of all time and sparks a 3-D movie explosion  
2010 Digital Economy Act (UK) clamps down on (online) copyright infringement and proposes universal broadband provision Couldry, Why Voice Matters
- Google halts state censorship of its Chinese site (the Chinese Government later decides that Google can continue to operate in mainland China)  
- Lady Gaga becomes first artist to hit one billion viewers on YouTube  
- Apple iPad released  
- 3-D-ready TV sets and channels introduced  
- 3-D video games introduced  
2011 Arab Spring apparently aided by Facebook and other social media  
2012 UK/EU digital television switchover/analogue shutdown  
- 244 years on, the Encyclopaedia Britannica ends its print publication  
- London Olympics hailed as biggest ever TV event (with 219 million viewers on the US network NBC alone)