With more than seven decades of multiple roles, functions, criticisms, and attributions, television is being redefined in the face of the digital commercial spectrum that has reduced its audiences; however, it will remain on for longer, as a key medium to understand today's society, says Luz María Garay Cruz, an academic at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences (FCPyS) of the UNAM.
The specialist in issues related to educational communication adds: "Television will not disappear. There are simply more than 30 million people in Mexico who do not have access to the Internet, who continue to be informed and entertained through it, who watch a sporting event, a soccer match, for example". According to INEGI's "Cuéntame de México" report on ICT availability in homes, in 2020, 91 percent of homes will have a television; in 2010 the figure reached 93 percent.
Likewise, in 2020, 43 percent of homes had pay-TV and 19 percent had a movie, music, or video service at cost or via the Internet (streaming). Not everyone can afford digital platforms, and in that sense, this media still has a long life; however, it has made adjustments to survive because its audiences are less and less loyal to a single medium or format.
If we think of it as the device that we turn on with open channels, it is having a hard time in terms of content it can offer, mentions the also former president of the Mexican Association of Communication Researchers, on the occasion of World Television Day, which is commemorated on November 21.
"In the big TV stations there is a financial crisis and a production load of morning magazines and news, but that great soap opera industry has been on the decline, so we see retransmissions or rehashes of the same stories, caused by the onslaught of all digital on-demand services and, of course, platform television", considers the academic of the FCPyS.
Garay Cruz, who is also a professor-researcher at the National Pedagogical University, says that we are talking about content production and distribution companies, through platforms that imply thinking about another type of industry, where Internet connectivity comes into play, with a market of more than 80 million users, although that does not mean that everyone consumes this type of content.
"Television has been agonizing at times, but has once again found a way to reposition itself in these digital scenarios so as not to lose its strongest audience; they understood that part of their audiences has moved there and that it is the trend of the media," argues the university professor.
Luz María Garay also expresses that we should not denigrate it as an educational agent, because it is a part of the social representations through which many people achieve certain learning, even when its intention and materials are not to educate, but to entertain, inform, and profit. "Even if it does not have the intention of educating, it becomes concrete; it promotes certain practices, reproduces roles and representations that finally are inputs that reach the audiences and, based on those contents, we mediate", she specifies.
Broadcast television needs to refresh its contents, rethink them so that they can be consumed by audiences on an old TV and other platforms. "For example, we have the case of the strategy of the current president of Mexico. By broadcasting his morning conference on television, he also opens a space for other media representatives that are not those of the big TV stations, some 'youtubers', and that has reconfigured the media agenda itself; that is, an agenda has been set that is no longer necessary that of the television companies," she adds.
According to the "Quarterly Report of Radio and TV audiences with a gender perspective", corresponding to January-March 2021, from the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFETEL), during the period indicated, TV exposure at the national level (28 representative cities in the country), by the female audience, was 11.18 percent higher than that registered by the male segment.
From Monday to Friday, women's overall television consumption was 14.86 percent higher than that of men. Both men and women, aged 45 and older, registered the highest percentage of exposure on weekends. Women aged 45 and older gave priority to national channels, which accounted for 44.27 percent of their consumption. In contrast, the case of men aged 18 to 24 stood out, who dedicated 42 minutes less than the total number of viewers.