Bernd Wingert

The current state of private use of online services

Karlsruhe: Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe 1998, 298 Seiten (Wissenschaftliche Berichte, FZKA 6152)
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In July 1998 the commission of the German Parliament presented its final report on the "Future of media in economics and society. Germany's route into the information society". It will also contain results of one of its working groups, entitled "Society 21". This present report is an expertise prepared for this working group; this whished to know, among other things, how many users there are for private usage of Internet and online-services; which characteristics, reasons and motives the users have (and the non-users as well) and whether new social segmentations are emerging, e.g., between the information rich and the information poor.

This report tries to answer those questions on two levels, first (in chapter 3) by giving a detailed account of the surveys and studies included (in total 11), and then (in chapter 4) by drawing conclusions on the basis of those studies. Unfortunately, the politicaly most urgent question about new social segmentations has no clear answer; the required time series data were not available. As to the question of how many users one may count, the figures show quite a range: In the spring of 1997 the Allensbach Institute reported in ACTA '97 a number of roughly 4 Mio. people using the Internet or at least one online-service (which included about 2.9 Mio. private users; based on respondents aged 14 - 54 years); in a recent survey of January 1998 the Nurnberg based GfK reported roughly 5.8 Mio. users in total (based on 14 - 59 years).

These figures are too modest if one is to speak of a mass medium; but the amount of usage of Internet and online-services has reached a level calling for careful observation of further developments or even for special Internet politics.

Created: 05.04.2006 - Comments to: Bernd Wingert