Rasmus Helles

Rasmus Helles

Associate Professor - Promotion Programme

My primary research interests are:

  • Digital media and communication
  • Media sociology with a special focus on digital media
  • Media policy and regulation
  • Empirical methodologies and theory of science

Current research

My current research is centred around the project 'Privacy Lost'. 

The project aims to uncover how commercial surveillance of web users has developed, and how political, economic and demographic factors have shaped it. The project departs from the fact that some of the large archives of the web which can be found online (e.g. archive.org) not only contain historical web content, but also stores information about tracking, such as for example cookies. In the project, which I lead in collaboration with Prof. Jakob Grue Simonsen from Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen, we use this data to map how commercial tracking has developed from a clever idea to the technological foundation of the business model underpinning some of the largest corporations in the World, such as Google and Facebook. The project examines how the development of tracking has been shaped by the specific social and economic realities in different regions around the globe. The project is funded by the Villum Foundation, the Carlsberg Foundation and the Data+ initiative at the University of Copenhagen.


Prior to the Privacy Lost project, I worked on a project called 'The Peoples' Internet'. The goal of the project is a comparative analysis of the role and development of the Internet in the US, Europe and China, with a special emphasis on civil society and everyday life of internet users. The project began in 2016 and will run for four years. It is headed by Prof. Klaus Buhn Jensen, with me serving as co-PI. The funding for the project comes from a substantial grant from the Carlsberg Foundation. Read more here: peoplesinternet.ku.dk

I am a member of the Center for Tracking and Society. 


Past projects and appointments

From May 1st 2019 to Sepember 1st 2023 I served as research representative in the Media Council for Children and Young People.

I was also a member of the Book Panel (The Ministry of Culture) for the period 2019-2022

I participated (2012-2016) in the research project "The mediatization of culture: the challenge of new media", funded by The Danish Council for Independent Research | Humanities . Through a series of related subprojects, the aim was to understand how digital media contribute to the transformation of existing media culture. My own project is about the transformation of traditional book publishing to e-book publishing. More here: http://mediatization.ku.dk

I also participated in the European research project (2014-2016) MeCetes (http://mecetes.co.uk). The project investigates the rôle of intra-European exchange of television fiction and films for European integration. My own contribution to the project is an investigation of streaming television and as a consultant on the design of the various empirical sub-projects.

Together with Prof. Klaus Bruhn Jensen, I recently lead the project "Media use in Denmark", which was financed by the Danish Agency for Culture. The project aim was to uncover media use patterns in the Danish population, and to investigate whether the increased diversity in media platforms has lead to a fragmentation of public debate. The project was finished in August 2014, and the final report will be published by the Danish Agency for Culture in early 2015.

Possible conflicts of interest

I do private consultancy work for public and private organizations, esp. in relation to planning and/or evaluation of IT development projects. I also do analysis of markets and infrastructure in the IT sector for public authorities, and I help private and public organizations plan and execute big data projects.


I teach and supervise a broad range of topics, primarily in relation to digital media, and at BA, MA and PHD level. My primary areas are the following:

  • Analysis and use of big data in academic and business contexts
  • Media and communication theory
  • The digital transformation of legacy media, for example the publishing business and streaming television
  • Media use studies
  • Media sociology
  • Media regulation

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Infrastructures of tracking: Mapping the Ecology of Third-Party Services Across Top Sites in the EU

    Helles, Rasmus, Lomborg, Stine & Lai, Signe Sophus, 1 Nov 2020, In: New Media & Society. 22, 11, p. 1957-1973 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  2. Published

    Speaking into the system: Social media and many-to-one communication

    Jensen, Klaus Bruhn & Helles, Rasmus, 2017, In: European Journal of Communication. 32, 1, p. 16–25 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  3. Published

    Meshes of Surveillance, Prediction, and Infrastructure: On the Cultural and Commercial Consequences of Digital Platforms

    Helles, Rasmus & Flyverbom, M., 31 Mar 2019, In: Surveillance & Society. 17, 1-2, p. 34-39 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  4. Published

    Converging cultures of communication: A comparative study of Internet use in China, Europe, and the United States

    Ørmen, Jacob, Helles, Rasmus & Jensen, Klaus Bruhn, 27 Jul 2021, In: New Media & Society. 23, 7, p. 1751–1772

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  5. Published

    The internet as a cultural forum: Implications for research

    Jensen, Klaus Bruhn & Helles, Rasmus, 1 Jun 2011, In: New Media & Society. 13, 4, p. 517-533 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  6. Published

    Transnational European Television Drama: Production, Genres and Audiences

    Bondebjerg, Ib, Redvall, Eva Novrup, Helles, Rasmus, Lai, Signe Sophus, Søndergaard, Henrik & Astrupgaard, C., 4 Nov 2017, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 318 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

  7. Published

    Travelling or not? A content analysis mapping Danish television drama from 2005 to 2014

    Helles, Rasmus & Lai, Signe Sophus, 19 Dec 2017, In: Critical Studies in Television. The international journal of television studies. 12, 4, p. 395–410 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  8. Published

    Mobile communication and intermediality

    Helles, Rasmus, 14 Jan 2013, In: Mobile Media & Communication. 1, 1, p. 14-19 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

ID: 9103