Open Access

The delay economy of “continuity” and the emerging impatience culture of the digital era

   | Jun 26, 2019


This article compares the “continuity” produced by private- and public service television companies and discusses whether it can survive in the digital era. In broadcast television, “continuity” carries the industry’s dominating business model: the commercial break. The present disruption to this model, caused by digital technology, over-the-top companies like Netflix and social media like Youtube, has made the television industry eager to adapt to new television viewing habits. However, based on a comparative analysis of the communicative strategies of four television companies in Denmark, the article argues that a traditional delay economy still governs the temporal structures and constructions of continuity. This delay economy draws heavily on the patience of its implied viewers. The article discusses this conceptualization of the audience in the context of an emerging impatience culture in which instant access to personalized audio-visual content and gaming on different devices are part of the viewers’ media experience.