Future of Public Service Broadcasting: Selection Strategies and Usage Preferences of Young Target Groups Concerning Audiovisual Entertainment and Information – A “Use-Lab”-Study

Reception behaviour has undergone drastic changes over the last few years. There is a clear trend away from traditional TV usage to online information and entertainment. Research on young target audiences (14-29 years) clearly shows how Internet use has replaced TV consumption.

The changing usage behaviour of young people has a particular impact on public service broadcasting, which has to deal with the fact that their main audience is getting increasingly older. Young people seem to prefer private providers or web applications over linear TV. There is a tendency of younger generations migrating from public service to private broadcasters and eventually to specific services tailored to their interests such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. 

Here, the question of what kinds of strategies need to be developed for public service broadcasters in order to win back the interest of young target audiences arises.  One possible way of approaching this problem is the commissioning of new distribution channels. Before such a new strategy can be realised, the daily media use of young people needs to be closely examined. The aim of this research project was to examine selection strategies and usage preferences in order to analyse their decision-making process with regard to audiovisual content. 

This experimental study set two different foci: reception behaviour towards informative as well as entertaining content. The participants were asked to come to our use-lab – transformed into a cosy living room – where they watched audiovisual content while commenting on their actions. Particular attention was paid to search and selection strategies, the participants’ expectations as well as to their subsequent evaluation of the watched content. 

The findings will soon be published.