Today in Media History: The Dot-com bubble burst in 2000

March 10, 2015
Category: Uncategorized

The 1990s dot-com boom ended on March 10, 2000.

According to Wired magazine, the boom was:

“….more accurately described as a bubble, since it rested largely on wild stock speculation and freewheeling venture capital investment that resulted in the often ludicrous overvaluation of sketchy Internet companies….On March 10, the Nasdaq Composite index peaked (5,048.62), more than doubling its value of a year before. But then the slide began and it was a precipitous drop, which is why March 10 is generally considered to be the day the bubble burst.”

Screenshot from Computer History Museum video

Screenshot from Computer History Museum video

The end of the dot-com boom reflected various economic and technological changes during that period.

For some perspective, here is a link to a Computer History Museum video called, “The Dot com boom and bust.”

We’ve also compiled a list of statistics and events from the year 2000.

Statistics:

— The number of American adults with Internet access grew from about 88 million to more than 104 million in the second half of 2000. (Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project)

— According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the average American Internet user spent 4.2 hours a week on the Internet. People’s usage varied greatly. One in five (20%) adult Internet users were online for only two hours or less a week, while one in seven (14%) spent 24 or more hours a week online.

— More families subscribed to Internet services than to newspapers by a 52-42% margin, according to an Annenberg Public Policy Center survey. (Source: NAA’s Presstime)

— 12 billion e-mails were sent per day during 2000. By 2008, the number would be 247 billion. (Source: Forbes)

— More than half (51.7%) of Internet users had purchased something online. (Source: UCLA Internet Report)

— The telephone modem remained the dominant Internet connecting system, with 81% of connections made by phone line. (Source: UCLA Internet Report)

Specific events:

January 10, 2000
America Online and Steve Case announced plans to acquire Time Warner for roughly $182 billion in stock and debt. Ten years later AOL officially separated from Time Warner after one of the greatest failed mergers in U.S. corporate history. According to The New York Times, by the time of the 2009 AOL spin-off, “more than $100 billion in shareholder value was wiped out.”

March 13, 2000

The Tribune Company, owner of the Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers and broadcast properties, announced an agreement to purchase the Times Mirror Company, owner of the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, Newsday, and an assortment of magazines for approximately $8 billion.

May 2000

Internet computer security became a major concern when the Love Letter worm infected computers around the world.

September 2000

Digital photography continued to replace film. As an example, digital photography was the cutting-edge technology of choice for photojournalists covering the Olympic games in Sydney, Australia.

November 7, 2000
The media reported on the presidential election between Al Gore and George Bush. The Pew Research Center writes: “Campaign 2000 firmly established the Internet as a major source of election news and information…Nearly one in five Americans (18%) say they went online for election news during this year’s campaign, up from 4% who did so in the 1996 campaign.”