Businesses have flocked to support a London Business School research programme on the uncertain but potentially lucrative future of interactive media in the home.
The programme will address two central questions - which interactive media applications are likely to achieve significant penetration of homes over the next five to tenyears, and how these applications will be used and what effect they will have on the everyday life of users.
Media 2020 will focus on the British and North American markets. It will address six key application areas; entertainment, person-to-person communications, home shopping and banking, information retrieval, marketing communications and telecommuting.
Patrick Barwise, director of the centre for marketing at the London Business School, is heading the project.
He said: "Our aim will be to make sense of interactive media so as to help companies decide their strategic response to the threats and opportunities."
The programme encompasses two funding sources. "There is a three-year project funded by an American foundation," Professor Barwise said, "and we have also launched it as an industry consortium."
The companies involved cover a range of industrial sectors, from brewers and communciation companies to car manufacturers.
"It may be a more immediate issue for some companies and sectors than others, but there is a huge uncertainty. Anyone who is interested in selling consumer products is interested in the impact (of interactive media) on the high street." said Professor Barwise.
The three-year project is funded by the New York-based Markle Foundation. There are 54 companies involved in the consortium, contributing Pounds 5,000 a year each.
Professor Barwise said Media 2020 had attracted an enthusiastic response.
"Companies are still coming in, but we are not actually seeking any more."