Due to its widespread relevance, which affects almost all traditional communication channels, the process of digitalisation represents the conceptual keynote of the current media epoch. The switch from analogue to digital systems in the last 30 years has consigned numerous old media to irrelevance at breakneck speed while giving rise to others. The list of examples is long: the computer replaced the typewriter, CDs replaced records, DVDs replaced video cassettes and emails replaced letters. Digital ISDN telephony has been available throughout Germany since 1995; analogue television reception will be shut off in 2015 at the latest. In the Internet era these advances in digitalisation are usually accompanied by a rejection of traditional carrier media; MP3s and online streams are now widespread. After a slow start the e-book has experienced a huge growth in sales.
Such a concentration of change in the media landscape doesn’t occur without conflict: in an era in which the last classic celluloid projectors are disappearing from cinemas and the newspaper is read in digital form as an app via tablet PC rather than on paper, there are sometimes fierce clashes between proponents of progress and traditionalism. The new world of media is hyper-connected, quick and easy to access from everywhere and makes huge quantities of data available in a tiny physical space. On the other hand it is also more susceptible to infringements of privacy, violations of rights and disruptions on the transmission path – and as it loses its concrete materiality, media also loses the personal touch.