In the last few years, digitalization has extended the range of media usage and changed usage habits. The once strong ties between content and end devices are increasingly coming 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. In addition to traditional, linear viewing via the TV set, this is giving rise to new forms of usage such as catch-up television via apps on mobile devices. Television is also becoming ever more diverse thanks to powerful consumer electronics and innovations inside TV sets themselves: Examples include digital television in (HD/UHD) 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.






Information as of December 1, 2018.


Information as of December 1, 2017.

Source: AGF in cooperation with GfK/ marketstandard TV / VideoSCOPE 1.1 / households.

Potential in millions (analog + digital)















In Germany, the traditional TV set is still by far the most widely used and wide-spread media device (2018: 94% of households owned one, adults aged 14 – 69). 93% of Germans aged between 14 and 69 watch linear television at least occasionally (previous year: 95%, 2014: 95%). Alongside reach, usage time also plays a crucial role in comparison to other media. Television is in the lead here, too, generating the highest daily usage of 213 minutes (adults aged 14 – 69) according to .

AGF Videoforschung’s television panel measures the daily TV usage time in Germany. AGF is currently working on a market standard that reveals how many people in total consume an entertainment offering — regardless of which device they use. To this end, AGF Videoforschung has introduced a new license model that integrates TV and streaming data in one system for the purpose of unified convergence measurement; regular statistics on video usage across all channels, resulting therefrom are scheduled for 2019.

058 / Parallel usage TV/Internet in %

058 / Parallel Usage TV/Internet in % (Bar chart)

Basis: 14 – 49 years old, TV/Internet used at least occasionally. Source: SevenOne Media/forsa, mindline media.

A detailed insight into media usage behavior in Germany is also provided by the findings of the “Media Activity Guide 2018” and “ViewTime Report 2018”: Germans use media and media transmission channels for an average of 586 minutes every day (previous year: 580 minutes). People aged between 14 and 69 spend 248 minutes or 42% of their daily media use on TV (previous year: 248 minutes or 43%), both linear and via alternative transmission channels. Radio follows in second place, with 109 minutes of daily usage (previous year: 102 minutes). Content-driven Internet usage accounts for 97 minutes or 16% of this time frame (previous year: 89 minutes or 15%). Reading newspapers and magazines accounts for 23 minutes every day (previous year: 31 minutes). The amount of time spent consuming media has therefore increased; TV reliably accounts for the highest usage time. The following trends can be observed here:

  • The expectation to be able to consume entertainment everywhere, at any time, on any device and in high quality is rising, as is demand for personalized content and the willingness to pay for suitable offerings.
  • Users of all age groups are increasingly consuming conventional media content in digital form. Young viewers in particular are increasingly watching TV content online (adults aged 14 – 29).
  • At the same time, the parallel usage of different screen media, known as second screens, is increasing continuously: While the proportion of parallel users aged between 14 and 49 was only 75% four years ago, 79% of those surveyed went online while watching television at least occasionally in 2018. Second-screen users also have a stronger interest in TV content and watch 214 minutes of TV a day, 29 minutes more than the average in their age group (adults aged 14 – 49).

The way in which people consume entertainment has changed. This applies to different target groups: 56% of video use by 14- to 29-year-olds is attributable to television; this rises to 84% among 14- to 69-year-olds. 31% of younger people and 14% of older people (adults aged 14 – 69) consume online videos via PCs and laptops. 50% of 14- to 29-year-olds and 24% of 14- to 69-year-old viewers use video offerings via smartphone or tablet. Free online videos are among the most popular content online. Monthly reach and usage time have increased continually in the last four years, both among the 14 to 29 year old and the 14 to 69 year old target groups. The same applies to paid streaming services — although at a somewhat lower level. In contrast, monthly reach and usage time of linear TV programming have declined at a high level recently. Germans aged between 14 and 69 years also use social networks for 14 minutes a day when all services are taken together — including professional offerings like Xing and LinkedIn and online dating sites. Facebook remains the most prevalent offering; nearly half of 14- to 69-year-olds use the social network. However, users have not tended to watch a lot of videos in this extent so far: Facebook videos have a reach of 37%.

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 Group advertising sales company SevenOne Media GmbH. Germans’ media usage behavior was surveyed in telephone interviews from February 26 to March 25, 2018; the data analyzed relate to the first quarter of 2018. In addition to the annual Media Activity Guide and likewise in cooperation with forsa, we examine all forms of video and social media usage on a quarterly basis in the “ViewTime Report”.

The studies show that digitalization is increasingly opening new doors to media use. Television is benefiting from the increasing use of media in Germany and remains the most important mass medium. TV is also the number one medium in terms of advertising impact:

  • TV is the most important and effective advertising medium thanks to its high reach. 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.”
  • Linear television is now independent of the TV set. The same content is consumed via various channels on different devices; entertainment devices like smartphones and tablets are used in addition to the TV set. In parallel, new cross-media advertising spaces are emerging, which coupled with the impulses of parallel usage is resulting in greater viewer retention. This is increasing TV’s relevance in marketing: For example, one-quarter (26%) of people have been motivated by TV content to directly purchase something on the Internet.

The “ROI Analyzer” is an instrument jointly published by SevenOne Media GmbH, 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. The study is now being continued by Screenforce. The findings on various sectors confirm TV advertising’s high sales impact. According to the latest iteration of the ROI Analyzer in 2018, a TV campaign for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) will pay for itself after just one year, with an average return on investment (ROI) of 1.13. This figure increases to 2.57 after five years.

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 5,200 households consisting of more than 10,000 persons, which report on a daily basis (reporting basis D+EU television panel). This shows the television consumption of 75.86 million people from the age of 3 or 38.77 million television households (as of January 1, 2019).
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.