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UK Gov't Inquires Into Creative Companies' Internet Use

Culture Secretary Chris Smith has set up an inquiry panel to find out why some creative firms are more successful than others at using the Internet.

The panel, which will be part of the Government's Creative Industries Task Force, is to be chaired by Robert Devereux of Virgin Publishing with 19 industry experts including Tom Bowman of Microsoft, Jack Schofield of the Guardian Online, and Professor Stephen Heppell of Ultralab.

The creative sectors that will be addressed by the panel include advertising and marketing, radio, design, the performing arts, fine art and literature. The panel will publish its findings together with an action plan early next year.

"Our creative industries already generate around £60 billion ($96 billion) a year, employ one and a half million people and are one of the economy's fastest growing sectors," said Chris Smith.

"The government set up the Creative Industries Task Force to examine how we can help our unrivalled array of talented and creative people maximise their potential to the benefit of the country's economy and their own businesses. If we don't, other countries will reap the rewards."

In a statement, the UK's Department of Culture, Media and Sport said the panel would focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), examining the uptake and exploitation of the Internet in each sector of the creative industries.