Key Events in Media

The book argues that three forces: politics, economics and technology had shaped the media industry.  The main events in each of these three areas are shown below. 



399 BC                    Socrates made to drink poison

380 BC                    Plato’s The Republic

350 BC                    Aristotle’s The Politics

103 BC                    Roman Senate publishes acta diurna

1393                        Richard II makes Inn signs a legal requirement

1516                        Henry VIII establishes Royal Mail

1557                        Establishment of Stationers Company in UK

1559                        Pope published Index of Prohibited Books

1624                        Statute of Monopolies (start of patents and copyright)

1643                        Licensing Order (UK) Stationers given monopoly

1660                        Charles II established General Post Office

1688                        “Glorious Revolution” in UK

1695                        Abolition of Stationers monopoly

1710                        Statue of Anne. First Copyright law UK

1712                        Stamp Duty (UK and colonies)

1737                        Benjamin Franklin appointed postmaster of Philadelphia

1765                        Stamp Duty Act UK and America

1776                        Declaration of Independence, USA

1790                        Patent Act in USA

1792                        Libel Act, UK

1792                        Post Office Act, USA

1798                        Sedition Act, USA

1843                        Theatre Regulation Act, UK.

1850                        Public Libraries Act, UK

1853                        Advertising tax abolished in, UK

1853                        Hackney Carriage Act UK

1855                        Stamp Duty on newspapers removed, UK

1868                        Telegraph Act, UK

1889                        Copyright Act USA

1904                        Wireless Telegraphy Act, UK

1912                        Radio Act, USA

1921                        Willis-Graham Act USA

1927                        Cinematographic Film Act, UK

1927                        Federal Radio Act, USA

1930                        Hays Office. Cinema Code, USA

1934                  Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

1950                        European Broadcasting Union formed

1951                        Beveridge Committee, UK

1954                        Comics Code Authority, USA

1954                        UK Television Act. Establishes ITV

1962                        Pilkington Report on future of TV in UK

1965                        Highway Beautification Act, USA

1967                        Public Broadcasting Act, USA. Creates PBS and NPR

1970                        Financial and Syndication Rules (“Fin-Syn”) in USA

1973                        Commercial radio starts in UK

1977                        Annan Report. Led to Channel 4 and Sky TV (UK)

1979                        USA Network Financial and Syndication Rules (“Fin-Syn”)

1995                        Fin-Syn rules abolished

1996                        Telecommunications Act USA

1997                        Net Book Agreement abolished UK

2003                        Communications Act, UK. Established Ofcom.


Economic (and social)


c1,200 BC               Epic of Gilgamesh (First written story in cuneiform)

534 BC                    Athenian government pays for drama contests (Thespis)

230 BC                    Great Library of Alexandria founded

79 AD                     Public notices – posters - in Pompeii

c800                         Book of Kells

c850                         Musical notation

1452                        Gutenberg prints the bible

1476                        William Caxton sets up first UK printing press

1490                        Thurn and Taxis granted mail monopoly by Austrian Empire

1576                        First theatre in London

1594                        Dafne First Opera

1599                        Globe Theatre opens in London

1605                        Cervantes wrote Don Quixote

1622                        Corante: Weekly News . First regular newsletter

1623                        Shakespeare’s First Folio printed

1665                        Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society published

1665                        Oxford Gazette,  First official newspaper

1690                        Worcester Post Man. First regular newspaper

1702                        Daily Courant First Daily Newspaper in UK

1704                        First UK Magazine; Daniel Defoe’s Review

1719                        Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

1731                        The Gentleman’s Magazine

1755                        Dr Johnson’s Dictionary

1788                        Times

1792                        WH Smith retail newsagents founded: UK

1799                        Rosetta stone discovered

1806                        Noah Webster’s Dictionary

1817                        The Scotsman

1839                        Obidiah Oldbuck  - first comic book

1840                        Penny Black stamp

1842                        Illustrated London News

1843                        Economist

1844                        Samuel Morse sends first telegraph

1845                        Magnetic Telegraph Company formed USA

1845                        Electric Telegraph Company formed UK

1851                        First transatlantic cable                         

1852                        First pillar boxes for letter collection in UK

1860                        Pony Express starts

1861                        First pre-stamped postcard (USA)

1868                        Paris authorised the Morris Column for posters

1878                        J Walter Thompson opens advertising agency

1885                        Yellow Kid  - first comic strip

1885                        Marconi demonstrates wireless telegraph

1886                        Coca Cola brand invented.

1892                        Vogue

1896                        Argosy -  “pulp fiction”

1896                        Daily Mail

1898                        Columbia records founded

1902                        A Journey to the Moon first feature film

1905                        Nickelodeon first opened

1906                        Tele-type Corporation founded

1908                        Motion Picture Patent Company

1912                        Universal Studios founded

1914                        Paramount Pictures founded

1915                        The Birth of a Nation, DW Griffiths

1917                        First Royal Telegram from George V

1917                        Barnes & Nobel open in New York

1919                        RCA founded

1920                        KDKA radio, Pittsburgh

1922                        BBC founded

1923                        Time

1923                        Claude Neon sign company founded

1926                        NBC founded

1927                        The Jazz Singer

1927                        CBS founded

1930                        Tintin

1930                        Fortune

1935                        Penguin paperbacks launched

1937                        BBC TV starts

1938                        Superman

1939                        Batman

1939                        NBC TV starts

1945                        ABC founded (forced sale of part of NBC)

1946                        Jukeboxes go into mass production

1951                        I Love Lucy

1952                        Checkers game on IBM 710

1958                        Tennis for Two game on

1961                 Spacewar (Game on DEC PDP1)

1961                        Private Eye

1963                        ZIP codes in USA

1964                        Radio Caroline launched

1964                        BBC 2 starts

1971                        Galaxy Game (first coin the slot video game)

1972                        Pong launched by Atari

1973                        Commercial radio starts in UK

1976                 Colossal Cave Adventure (text based game)

1978                 Space Invaders

1979                        WTBS Superstation goes national from Atlanta

1980                        Multi User Dungeon (Computer Game)

1981                        British Telecom created

1982                        USA Today launched via satellite printing

1982                        UK. Channel 4 starts

1984                        UK  Sky TV starts

1984                        AT&T broken up

1985                        Super Mario Brothers

1986                        Wapping dispute - Murdoch

1986                        Fox ( 4th US network) starts

1990                        British Satellite Broadcasting launched

1991                        Sonic The Hedgehog

1993                        Mortal Kombat

1993                        Dr Fun – first web comic

1996                        Tomb Raider

1996                        USA

1998                        Google founded

2006                        Last telegram sent by Western Union




350,000 BC             Humanoids capable of speech 

40,000 BC               Great Leap Forward

35,000 BC               Flutes made from bone in Germany

15,000 BC               Earliest cave drawings

3500 BC                  Earliest writing: Harrapan

3000 BC                  Musical instruments in widespread use

2600 BC                  Papyrus used for documents

2000 BC                  Development of phonetic alphabet

1000 BC                  Movable type used in China

500 BC                    Parchment developed                           

100 AD                   Paper invented in China

1415                        Brunelleschi demonstrates perspective

1447                        Printing press (Gutenberg)

1791                        Optical telegraph (Chappe)

1796                        Invention of lithography ( Alois Senefelder )    

1814                        Steam driven printing press

1825                        Invention of the electromagnet (William Sturgeon )

1837                        Electronic telegraph patent (Charles Wheatstone)

1839                        Daguerreotype photography

1841                        Fox Talbot photographic patent

1840                        Paper mass produced from wood pulp

1843                        Rotary printing press invented (Richard Hoe)

1844                        First Morse code telegram sent

1851                        Telegraph cable under English Channel

1858                        Transatlantic telegraph cable

1860s                      Newsprint comes in rolls made from wood pulp

1867                        Sholes-Glidden Typewriter                                                   

1876                        Telephone (Bell)

1877                        Motion Pictures (Muybridge)

1877                        Phonogram ( Edison)

1878                        Half tone printing by New York Daily Graphic

1885                        Marconi demonstrates wireless telegraph (radio)

1886                        Automated typesetting Linotype invented (“hotmetal”)

1888                        Kodak camera patented (George Eastman)

1993                        Kinetoscope (Edison)

1895                        Cinématography demonstrated by Lumière

1906                        Tele-type Corporation founded

1912                        First Neon sign

1920                        Radio valve (called vacuum tube in USA)

1920                        Telex network founded

1926                        Television - mechanical imaging (Logie Baird)

1927                        First Jukeboxes (AMI)

1928                        Magnetic tape data storage

1929                        Television - electronic imaging ( RCA/EMI)

1935                        Kodochrome colour film

1947                        Telecine machine invented

1947                        Transistor invented (Bell Labs)

1948                        33 rpm Long Playing record (Columbia)

1948                        45 rpm vinyl Single record (RCA)

1951                        Nimrod games computer

1956                        Videotape first used

1956                        Hard drive data storage

1957                        First satellite (Sputnik)                         

1962                        First communications satellite (Telstar)

1963                        Hypertext invented by Ted Nelson

1963                        Computer mouse invented (Douglas Engelbart)

1966                        Audio cassettes

1971                        ARPANET opens

1976                        CD data storage

1977                        Atari 2600 VCS

1979                        Sony Walkman

1979                        Pong – first computer arcade game

1982                        Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) introduced

1982                        Photocomposition replaces “hot metal” type. UK union agreement

1982                        CD players and discs

1985                        Nintendo Entertainment Syetem (NES )

1988                        First digital camera (Fuji)

1989                        Nintendo Game Boy

1991                        World first web browser at CERN

1993                        WorldWideWeb launched (Tim Berners-Lee)

1993                        Netscape browser

1994                        Sony PlaySation

1995                        DVD data storage

1995                        MP3 audio file format approved

1998                        Google launched

1998                        Rio (early portable MP3 player)

1999                        Napster (audio file sharing)

1999                        TiVo (Digital Video Recorder)

2001                        iPod launched by Apple

2001                        Xbox games console

2005                        Sony e-book

2007                        iPhone launched by Apple

2007                        Kindle by Amazon

2010                        iPad launched by Apple

2010                        Kinect launched by Microsoft