Online replaces TV as most influential form of media

Pure online brands are among the biggest winners this year © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Online media replaced television as the most influential media genre in Switzerland for the first time in 2021, according to a study. Large brands such as 20 Minuten and Swiss public radio and television, SRF, lost influence in favour of smaller titles.

This content was published on December 6, 2022

In terms of importance for opinion-forming, print titles slipped to the bottom of the ranking, even behind radio and social media, according to the Media Monitor Switzerland 2021External link, published on Tuesday. The study by Publicom on behalf of the Federal Office of Communications is intended to measure the state of media diversity in Switzerland and the possibility of forming opinions freely.

The fifth edition concludes that online has been able to profit significantly in terms of opinion power compared with the previous year. The study authors identified increases at the expense of traditional distribution channels. On the one hand, this happened within the same media brand, when people accessed content more online than in print. This can be observed above all in regional media brands.

On the other hand, pure online brands are among the biggest winners, according to the 204-page report. In particular but also the news offerings of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SWI’s parent company), whose television and radio brands mostly declined.

Diversity of opinion

In the course of these developments, the majority of the nationally or regionally largest-reach brands suffered losses in opinion power in 2021. The government study assessed this as “fundamentally pleasing” for diversity of opinion. The largest offerings would lose importance in favour of smaller ones. On balance, the study concluded that the conditions for a balanced formation of opinion in the population were given.

In addition to the online boom, the study also showed a continuing above-average media use overall. Admittedly, a small part of the increase in reach and opinion power from 2020 was lost last year. Compared with the years before the pandemic, however, both values still increased.

The study documented power relations and corporate interdependencies in the media market and took into account, among others, 172 Swiss media brands and ten corporate groups. It also included an online survey with 4,700 people as well as industry studies.

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