Turks increasingly turning off TV to go online
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencyTelevision seems to be losing ground to the Internet in Turkey, as new research reveals that increasing numbers of people are going online than ever for news, education and information.
Turkish Statistical Institute (TUİK) data from August show that Internet usage among Turks aged 16 to 74 increased to 56 percent in 2015, up from 54 percent the previous year.
The TÜİK report said most users in early 2015 were “regular users” who logged onto the Internet either daily or at least once a week.
Ersin Tokgöz, the editor-in-chief of Internet newspaper Turktime and a board member of the Turkish All-Internet Media Association (TIMED), said traditional media is losing out to the Internet and TV will be viewed with nostalgia in the future.
“Traditional media will die when the generation that was born with newspapers dies. People today only read newspapers out of habit,” Tokgöz said.
He suggested that the Internet is more user-friendly, allowing viewers to choose what and when they watch shows .
“TV is a passive way of watching but you can use the Internet actively, according to whatever you want,” he added.
The shift toward online viewing has been rapid. Back in 1996, the U.N. proclaimed Nov. 21 to be “World Television Day,” saying the move was “not so much a celebration of the tool but the philosophy which it represents.”
To mark World Television Day, a collection of European broadcasting groups highlighted TV’s social impact, saying that television was the most popular and trusted platform because it gave viewers a shared experience with millions of other people.
While data show that older people in Turkey and elsewhere tend to watch television most, time-pressed millennials increasingly turn to online platforms where a more diverse selection can be found than on TV.
However, one academic who specializes in media research claims that TV will never die.
Nezih Orhon, the dean of the School of Communication Sciences at Anadolu University in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, told Anadolu Agency that “TV has not died yet, although Internet use has increased.”
“TV will never die. You can rarely see a person watching a football match on his own via the Internet. That’s why television will never die,” Orhon said.
He said he coined the phrase “screen generation” to refer to the years since the late 1920s, when TV first became available, starting an “addiction” among viewers.
He said this addiction had started with TV but had now passed onto the Internet. “You can see people using their phones even while they are walking in the streets,” he said.
Turkey was introduced to television relatively late, in 1968, with the establishment of the state broadcaster TRT. Color television was introduced in 1981, followed by Turkey’s first private channel in 1989. Today, the vast majority of TV stations available in satellite packages are private broadcasters.