Digitalization has extended the range of media usage in the last few years. The once strong ties between content and end devices are coming somewhat undone and the bounds between different media are merging. This also applies to television and video usage in general: With the dissemination of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, the number of transmission channels is increasing. This is giving rise to new forms of usage such as catch-up television via apps on mobile devices. Television is also becoming more attractive thanks to innovations inside TV sets themselves: Examples include digital television in and on large TV screens. This development is being driven by broadband Internet access with fast data speeds and the high number of satellite households in Germany. (Fig. 060) Risk Report

060 / TV households in Germany by delivery technology Number of TV households





Information as of December 1, 2017.


Information as of December 1, 2016.

Source: AGF in cooperation with GfK/TV Scope 6.1, households.

Potential in millions (analog + digital)















Despite the large number of additional offerings, 96% of linear television in Germany is still watched on a traditional TV set (14 to 69 year old target group). Viewing time remained stable at a high level in this country. In the 14 to 69 year old audience group, it amounted to 218 minutes in 2017 (previous year: 223 minutes). In Germany, data on television use is collected on a daily basis on behalf of as part of a TV panel measurement.

The results of the “Media Activity Guide 2017” and “ViewTime Report 2017” give a detailed insight into media usage behavior in Germany. Germans use media and media transmission channels for an average of 580 minutes every day. Viewers aged between 14 and 69 spend 248 minutes or 43% of their daily media use on TV, both linear and via alternative transmission channels. Radio follows in second place, with 102 minutes of daily usage. Content-driven Internet usage accounts for 89 minutes or 15% of this time frame. Reading newspapers and magazines accounts for 31 minutes every day . So digitalization does not mean that television is becoming less relevant. Instead, users are increasingly consuming conventional media content in digital form.

The “Media Activity Guide” examines the Germans’ usage of media on an annual basis. The study is conducted by forsa on behalf of the ProSiebenSat.1 advertising sales company SevenOne Media. Germans’ media usage behavior was surveyed in telephone interviews from March 1 to March 28, 2017; the data analyzed relate to the first quarter of 2017. In addition to the annual Media Activity Guide and likewise in cooperation with forsa, we examine all forms of video usage on a quarterly basis in the “ViewTime Report.”

Television remains still the most highly used medium. Moreover, the studies show that traditional media enjoy the highest level of trust and, by virtue of the quality of their content, are increasingly providing a counterpoint to the unfiltered opinions expressed on social media. 14- to 69-year-olds spend an average of around 15 minutes a day on social media. At the same time, TV reaches significantly more 14- to 29-year-olds than Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. The dissemination of Facebook is even declining in the young target group: Among 14- to 29-year-olds, its reach is declining continuously (Q2 2015: 69% vs. Q2 2017: 45% at least occasional usage).

Together with radio, television has the largest group of users among 14- to 69-year-olds at 95%. At the same time, the Internet is a firmly established part of our everyday lives. In 2017, the share of Internet users in Germany was 93%. In this context, daily video usage is increasing continuously, amounting to 243 minutes in the second quarter of 2017 (Q2 2015: 239 minutes). Television is the most significant provider of video content: In Germany, 88% of video usage among viewers aged 14 to 69 is attributable to TV, with 214 minutes of viewing time. Second place is taken by online videos financed by advertising and thus free for users, with an average of 15 minutes. This equates to 6% of all video usage in the target group of 14- to 69-year-olds in Germany.

Additional pay-per-view offerings, such as or VoD, are offering ProSiebenSat.1 Group additional growth prospects. According to the PwC German Entertainment and Media Outlook 2017 – 2021, the volume of the pay TV market was estimated at EUR 3.1 billion in 2017. The volume of the PayVoD market was EUR 784 million according to Statista’s Digital Market Outlook; a volume of EUR 534 million was attributed to the important sector. Nearly one-third of 14- to 69-year-olds pay for video streaming at least occasionally. At the same time, the number of users and SVoD subscribers in German households is rising, although the daily viewing time is currently a modest 9 minutes.

The studies show that television remains the number one medium. No other medium can generate such high reach as quickly as TV. At the same time, entertainment devices such as smartphones and tablets are being used in addition to TV sets. The parallel usage of different screen media is increasing continuously: While the proportion of parallel users aged between 14 and 49 was only 68% four years ago, 83% of those surveyed went online while watching television at least occasionally in 2017 (Fig. 061). This also has consequences for advertising impact: Second-screen users not only have a stronger interest in TV content and watch 211 minutes of TV a day, 22 minutes more than the average in their age group (14-49 years old), but they are also more online-savvy. One-third (36.6%) have purchased something on the Internet as a direct result of TV content.

061 / Parallel Usage TV/Internet in %

Parallel Usage TV/internet (Bar chart)

Basis: 14 – 49 years old, TV/Internet used at least occasionally.

Source: Media Activity Guide 2017, SevenOne Media/forsa.

In this environment, reach is becoming the most valuable currency and TV the key advertising medium. Video advertising on TV inspires a greater emotional attachment to a brand than any other medium. This results in brand loyalty among consumers and pays off for advertisers in the short and long term. This is shown in the “ROI Analyzer” study jointly published by SevenOne Media, and GfK-Verein in 2014. The study evaluated the revenue effects of TV advertising on all purchase data from 30,000 German households over a year. The results showed that, across all brands investigated, a TV campaign will pay for itself after only one year, with an average return on investment (ROI) of 1.15. This figure increases to 2.65 after five years. Further iterations of the ROI Analyzer on various sectors confirm TV advertising’s high sales impact.

The fragmentation and digitalization of the media landscape is providing more and more opportunities to consume media. Here, television is benefiting from increasing video usage in Germany. Linear television is now independent of the TV set; the same content is consumed via various channels on different devices. In parallel new cross-media advertising spaces arise, which coupled with the impulses of parallel usage is resulting in greater viewer retention. In this context, TV is becoming increasingly relevant in marketing.

High definition (HD)
High-definition video content as opposed to standard definition (SD). HD content is predominantly distributed via television, Blu-ray and the Internet. On televisions, the standards used are 720p, 1080i und 1080p. Online, HD content is streamed or distributed in various file formats (e.g. avi, mp4, mkv, mov) and specifications. “Native HD” means that the content was produced with HD devices from the start, and that it does not need to be upscaled to be broadcast in HD. HD content is transferred between devices via HDMI und can be protected against copying (HDCP). The HD standard is in further development.
Video-on-demand (VoD)
Allows the user to stream or download videos at any time.
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Fernsehforschung (AGF)
In the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Fernsehforschung (Working Group of Television Research), the ARD and ZDF broadcasters, the ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE station groups and the RTL Deutschland media group join forces to carry out and develop continual quantitative television audience research in Germany (ratings). The data collected exclusively by the GfK TV research department is recognized in the television market as the common currency for advertising and program planning. The AGF/GfK television panel includes 5,000 households consisting of almost 10,500 persons, which report on a daily basis (reporting basis D+EU television panel). This shows the television consumption of 75.08 million people from the age of 3 or 38.19 million television households (as of January 1, 2016).
Pay TV
Television programming that can only be received if additional fees are paid. Special equipment (a decoder) is usually required.
Subscription video-on-demand (SVoD)
Subscription video-on-demand describes a subscription model for customers of video-on-demand platforms such as maxdome. A fixed price is charged for a defined offering that can be accessed without restriction. It belongs to the overriding pay-video-on-demand (Pay-VoD) category, which also includes other payment models, such as transactional video-on-demand (TVoD) or pay-per-view (PPV).
GfK Fernsehforschung
GfK Fernsehforschung is a department within the GfK Group (Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung) that collects TV consumption data for Germany exclusively on behalf of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Fernsehforschung (AGF). On a daily basis, GfK Fernsehforschung records the TV consumption of the households on the television panel, the people living in these households and their guests with electronic measuring instruments. This data is considered “the currency” in Germany’s TV market.