Brussels, 18 November - The capacity of television to engage audiences in critical issues will be recognized on 21 November as part of a United Nations led initiative supported by public service and commercial broadcasters, sales houses, as well as trade associations around the world.
In a world first, key industry bodies including the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) and egta, the Brussels based association of television and radio sales houses will unite for World Television Day, which was proclaimed an annual event by the United Nations in 1996.
Broadcasters everywhere have been invited to screen a brief video commissioned by egta, ACT and EBU in recognition of TV's crucial role to inform, educate and entertain.
The clip features people of all ages and nationalities watching television content on different devices, ranging from entertainment to news, to culture, education and drama. Broadcasters across Europe, Asia, Canada, USA and Australia will participate.
United Nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon says in a digital age, TV remains the most trusted and popular medium for news, culture, sports and entertainment. Europeans watch more linear television than ever before – an average of 235 minutes per day.
"Television helps bring the world to people's lives and living rooms," he said. "Through quality programming, television sheds light on global issues and opens windows of understanding on the struggles and hopes of communities and families everywhere."
EBU president and general administrator of Belgian public service broadcaster RTBF, Jean-Paul Philippot said TV remained 'the dominant platform for live events,' despite the rise of social media and the more personalised consumption of media via the internet.
"TV is, and shall remain the medium par excellence for people to simultaneously share their emotions and participate in seminal events," said Mr Philippot. "It was the medium that took us to the moon and it will continue to inspire us today and in the future."
Philippe Delusinne, ACT President and CEO RTL Belgium, said that "television's success story is built on proximity to our audience, local relevance and telling great stories".
"TV is constantly evolving with one major goal: we want viewers to be the big winners of this technological evolution," he said. "In the end, new technology means more ways to watch TV: what you want, when you want and on whatever screen you want. Thousands of talented people work in television, backstage or on screen to continue this success. It's an honour to be part of this media family."
Franz Prenner, egta President and Head of Research at ORF Enterprise Austria, expressed praise for a medium, which he said 'repeatedly demonstrated its capacity for reinvention.'
"These are exciting times both for broadcasters," he said, "who are innovating in the way they deliver television content to viewers, and for their sales houses, who contribute to the financing of great content through ever more informative, targeted and relevant advertising."
ACT Director General