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For a long time, broadcasting was a clearly defined sector of the media industry with its own organisational forms (public service and commercial broadcasters), its own broadcasting channels and specific devices for the broadcast content.
Digitisation not only overcomes spectrum scarcity the shortage of broadcasting frequencies, but also supports enhanced image quality (ranging from high definition to 3D TV). The development of broadband networks have created the means to disseminate audiovisual content via the internet; moreover, rather than content being time-and-channel-based, it can now be accessed by each indi-vidual user as desired. Broadcaster content can be accessed on a variety of devices, from the classic TV screen in the living room to mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. By connecting televisions to the internet, the smart TV (or connected TV) can access media libraries as well as Video on Demand platforms. The range of potential options is being expanded by game consoles with TV integration and advances in user-friendly high-powerstorage technologies.
As the borders between the media dissolve, new conflicts of interest emerge — for instance, between publishers and public service broadcasters, which both offer web-based platforms with news and moving image media.
The previous system of funding public broadcasting by a licensing fee linked to receiving devices has been replaced by a flat-rate contribution for all households. Since under the original receiving device model, Berlin suffered from a higher than average shortfall in fees paid, the city expects the new system to have an especially positive impact on the public service broadcasters.
Digitisation has left its mark on the business models of all privately financed media. In contrast to print media, hours of use for audio-visual media have largely remained stable with time and channel-based TV even registering increases in hours of use, though not among the younger target groups. But broadcasters are facing new challenges, with radio broadcasters competing with music platforms, or TV stations challenged by the new global Video on Demand platforms.
The larger the range of digital services, the more important discoverability becomes. As a result, the influence of navigation instruments and search machines is also increasing in the audiovisual sector.
At present, there is a shift from transport models, where each user pays for a comparable transport service, to marketing models, where broadcasters have feedback on coverage and the conditions between network operators and platforms as well as content providers are the subject of negotiations. This transition is creating new challenges for the equal treatment of all communications transferred over the network (net neutrality).