Television as a 'pharmacy for feelings'

The variety of programs shown by private networks has changed the function of television for viewers. Today television is a kind of 'pharmacy for feelings'. At the press of a button, constantly available exciting, cheering-up, harmonizing, or extreme program offers usher in a desired change of mood or mind state. As a result, television is used increasingly to ease personal tensions and daily tribulations with the help of action, comedy, soap operas, music, or eroticism.

Television has nothing to do with pure information or entertainment, but rather serves as entertaining self-therapy. After a frustrating day at work, for example, which has not provided the desired effect or vigor, action or erotic formats on Pro Sieben or Premiere are preferred. A lazy day, on the other hand, arouses the desire to work through a sophisticated issue presented on TV. Unhappy twists and blows of fate make people want to immerse themselves in an emotional, melodramatic program together with others.  

Thus, whether people feel like watching TV at night, and what they watch, does not depend primarily on the target group they belong to, but rather on what their day was like. And of course also on the program offer of the channel, which in the ideal case caters to a dozen different mind states. A successful network therefore does not appeal to certain target groups, but rather enhances the appeal of the TV mind states it represents. The advantage: more and more viewers - from all target groups - seek the mind states offered by a channel more and more often.

© 2015 rheingold