An invited audience of some 280 key players came together at a Plenary Meeting of the heads of publishing houses and related industries organized by DG XIII/E during the Frankfurt Book Fair (7.10.1993). In consultation with the publishing industry, a study was recently commissioned by DG XIII, in the context of the IMPACT programme for the development of a European information services market, on the development of electronic publishing in Europe. The study revealed the need to identify and create a European market in this area. The Frankfurt Book Fair provided an appropriate location for the relevant actors to consider the issues involved. The keynote address at the plenary meeting, given by Mr. M. Niebel, member of the Cabinet of Commission Vice-President Bangemann, recognized how information changes the living, working and learning patterns of society. He outlined areas where the European Community is already active with respect to the economic and cultural role of information, such as research, telecommunications, deregulation, personal data protection, competition and standardization. He considered the present situation to be characterized by the dominance of the US market, strategic alliances, and the merging of different sectors. Despite its weaknesses, Europe has specific strengths: Its sound customer base, its publishing tradition and richness of content. Identifying the Commission's role, Mr. Niebel pointed to IMPACT's contributions to the development of the European electronic information market, the creation of a pan-European telecommunications infrastructure, research in information and communications technologies, including "information engineering activities" within the Fourth Framework Programme, and standardization. The Commission recognizes the threats and opportunities confronting the publishing industry and will endeavour to create the right conditions, and act as a catalyst and facilitator for the transformation from paper to electronic publishing. The driving force must, however, come from the publishing sector itself. A strong and active information and publishing industry can contribute towards Europe's competitiveness and to the creation of jobs (a top priority of the Commission) as well as to the development of a "living culture" reflecting Europe's diverse cultural heritage. Representatives of the publishing sector put forward their views to the meeting, recognizing the critical implications that changing technologies would have on the publishing industry and welcoming the opportunity to contribute to the definition of a framework for action. The need for "level playing fields" for network access was emphasized, as was the requirement for workable solutions for copyright protection and improved standards. The additional need to address advertising challenges in the new media as well as opportunities in education was also pointed out. A spokesman for the organization which compiled the study ("A Strategic Study on New Opportunities for Publishers in the Information Services Market") summarized the objectives and main findings: Publishers are recommended to prepare carefully for new media publishing; develop the necessary expertise, skills and alliances; develop a strategy for future content and technologies; and follow the path of least risk. In conjunction with the meeting, a workshop chaired by Mr. Michel Carpentier, Director-General of DG XIII, was held in the afternoon of 7 October. An invited group of about 50 recognized specialists, representing the sectors of publishing, telecommunications, hardware and software industries, considered the recommendations of the study and commented on the feasibility of their implementation. Mr. Carpentier fielded a variety of questions on issues such as the threat to the traditional European advertizing market, vertical markets and the problem of putting together alliances, the need to consider the user dimension, interest in investigating information management in corporate publishing, and the urgency of developing a legal framework. In summing up, he confirmed that serious attention would be given to the various issues raised. He also noted the possibility of cost-shared programmes mainly via RTD projects, the Commission's role in the standards area, the copyright issue, and the stimulation of technology transfer from the US and Japan.