Assessments of the audience of traditional mass media have existed for decades and have been widely studied, but the quantification of the Internet audience is a recent and barely known phenomenon. An audience is an essential requirement for the existence of any mass media: first, there is no medium without an audience, and second, the audience has become a commodity fundamental to the functioning of commercial media systems. It is the application of measurement procedures that allows the audience to play this dual institutional role.
The Internet Audience is the first book to focus on the transformation of the Internet into a mass communication medium thanks to the constitution of its audience through measurement. Starting with a historical analysis of this transformation, it goes on to analyze in detail the methods used for the measurement of the Internet audience, their limits and their possibilities. It concludes with an inquiry into the logic and interests behind the creation of an online audience measurement industry. The result is the first comprehensive look at the question of not what the Internet audience does with the medium, but rather what the medium does with its audience.