Happy 25th Anniversary World Wide Web!

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Content

Twenty-five years ago today, the concept of the World Wide Web was officially established.  Founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, built as a side project while at CERN, Tim was the first person to write the code for a browser and editorial system, eventually released broadly and at no cost in 1993.

The establishment of the World Wide Web changed the way companies and consumers interacted.  Before the introduction of websites, PR teams would distribute press releases, then manually follow up with interested parties, including reporters, analysts and customers by phone.  If someone wanted to learn more about an organization or its offerings, they would call, leave a message and hope for a return call.  If no return call was made, no company information was shared.

Before the introduction of websites, news consumption was via newspapers and magazines with TV and radio leading the charge with breaking news or daily recaps.

Business Wire WebsiteNineteen  years ago, Business Wire recognized that the World Wide Web would dramatically change the way the world communicated.  We understood that by providing media, analysts and consumers instant access to key news and information, companies would build stronger relationships with these groups, as well as increase brand visibility and reach to new, previously hard- to-reach audiences.

But the web didn’t just help organizations.  With our new website, the first in the entire commercial newswire industry, Business Wire now offered additional ways for reporters, journalists and analysts to receive news– via newswire feed, email or web, ensuring immediate access to the corporate information they needed to write stronger and more compelling stories – ultimately increasing their own readership and reach.

News distribution and consumption has changed dramatically for all organizations in the last 25 years.  The penetration of smartphones ensures that 90% of American adults have full computer power in their pockets at all time.  Consumers and media alike can access websites, corporate newsrooms, social media channels and more to find company or product information.  While newswire distributions continue to be the preferred method of news distribution, journalists can receive press releases instantly through email or text message.

The late 90s and early 2000s also brought significant changes to the web, and again to news distribution and consumption.  In 1997, Business Wire launched the industry’s multimedia news release to proactively supply journalists with photos or video embedded into the press release.  The birth of Webshots, SmugMug, Flickr and Yahoo! photos triggered a massive wave of photography creation and sharing, increasing consumer demand for media outlets to include multimedia in press releases.

In 2005, YouTube launched, providing for the first time, a central repository for videos and kicking off an unheard of amount of video creation, sharing and consumption.  Consumers and media embraced video so dramatically, it too triggered another shift within the media space. 2005 marked the beginning of the massive surge of interactive news – suddenly a traditional news article could be supplemented with company created videos, providing viewers a much deeper look at the company.

Since the birth of the World Wide Web, news consumption has sped up.   We are now in a 24/7 news cycle with news coverage including everything from an article, a tweet, a photo, a video and more.  And it is only going to get better.  We look forward to the movement towards wearable technologies,  faster data speeds and other new inventions and the impact they will have on this industry.  Bring it on, future! We are ready!

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