Future media trends 2015 – Different scenarios for the future of media and media usage

Bernhard Engel and Natalie Beisch
German Television ZDF, Germany


The 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin in 2009 reminds us that tiny changes over time have large effects. Even if it is hard to forecast the future we can develop scenarios of change and classify them as more or less probable. Revolution in technology meets evolution in human behaviour.

The theoretical framework for the study is the theory of “liquid modernity” (Zygmunt Bauman, first published in 2000). Even if Bauman's book focuses on a variety of topics, the metaphor “liquid modernity” is useful to describe various phenomena and developments of media.

“… Liquids, unlike solids, cannot easily hold their shape. Fluids, so to speak, neither fix space or bind time…. Fluids travel easily. They 'flow', 'spill', 'run out', 'splash', 'pour over' 'leak', 'flood', 'spray', 'drip', 'seep'; 'ooze'; unlike solids they are not easily stopped – they pass around some obstacles, dissolve some others and bore or soak their way through others still. From the meeting with solids they emerge unscathed, while the solids they have met, if they stay solid, are changed – get moist or drenched. The extraordinary mobility of fluids is what associates them with the idea of 'lightness'… These are the reasons to consider 'fluidity' or 'liquidity' as fitting metaphors when we wish to grasp the nature of the present, in many ways novel, phase in the history of modernity. … Modernity means many things … One feature of modern life and its modern setting stands out, however, as perhaps 'difference which make(s) the difference'; as the crucial attribute from which all other characteristics follow. That attribute is the changing relationship between space and time.”1