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The Future of Television Use

The Future of Television Use

Despite its continuing and exemplary success, the still comparatively young medium television has – from a historical point of view – become the “old medium”, something that seems to be from yesterday. With the rapid expansion of the PC but latest with the explosive spread of online communication in general and the internet in particular in the 90, swan songs on television and critical questions on what this medium can offer in an online world become more frequent.


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Project Description

Besides these basic doubts, there are numerous concrete events that deal how the current changes effect television on a technical, economic and content-based level. Television users are confronted with a further increase of special-interest channels, an increasing significance of pay-services, new programming formats such as different varieties of daily talk shows and reality TV, a growing availability of international offers, electronic programme guides and navigators as new services for television use, the distribution of moving images and television programmes on the internet, access possibilities to the internet via television, and options for “personal TV”. They are further confronted with the expansion of television into new spheres beyond their private lives, such as business TV or television in public spaces.

The current social and cultural transformation processes show further reasons to deal with the future of television use. Some keywords are: individualisation, demographic development, an increase of one-person-households, a renaissance of non-medial mass events, shifts in the relationship between public and private. All of this was the reason for a desk research project with the objective to bundle the wealth of existing data, assessments and prospects on the use of television in an overall view.

We can summarise this study in two points:
  • After the relatively stable conditions in the 90s, we are seeing the beginning of a new phase of fundamental change in television itself and how it is used. For all actors, for private and public service media organisations, for media policy and media supervision, for the advertising industry, for the growing area of e-commerce, for society and its individual groups and last but not least for the users of television it is clear: television will not be what it used to be. Many more programmes, sophisticated navigation aids, special interest formats in television, smooth transitions between reception, transaction and interaction, creative combinations of different media genre, increased mobility – television broadcasters and the audience are confronted with these framework conditions and have to adjust their actions to it.
  • And yet, television will remain television. There are few indications that television as we got to know it, as something that is a significant part of people’s daily life for decades and, thus, became a cultural and social factor as well as an economic branch of great significance, will become less important or will disappear in the course of current developments.

Project Information


Duration: 2001-2002

Research programme:
Further Projects

Third party

Hamburgische Anstalt für neue Medien (HAM)

Cooperation Partner

C. Roßmann, E. Baumann

Contact person

Prof. em. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink

Prof. em. Dr. Uwe Hasebrink

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung │ Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

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