Majority of the population sees important educational function for ZDF

5th July 2024
Study on public education mandate published
ZDF building with banners.
ZDF building. Credit: ZDF.

This press release was originally published on ZDF

For the majority of the population (80.6 percent), it is (very) important that ZDF contributes to the education of the population. Even a large proportion of those who use ZDF less share this expectation. This is the result of a comprehensive, representative study that ZDF conducted on its educational mission from the perspective of the population. It offers important insights into the expectations, perceptions and usage habits in connection with the educational function of ZDF.  

ZDF Director General Dr. Norbert Himmler: “The results of the study encourage us to further strengthen our commitment to education in all its facets. The study shows the high expectations the population has of us. Our educational mission also applies: we want to be a ZDF for everyone.”

Read more: CPB and PBS Partner to Extend Impact of Early Childhood Education Resources & Content

Expectations of ZDF are diverse

The study reveals a broad understanding of education in the public service mandate. In addition to political education and media education, it also includes general knowledge and cultural transfer. The expectations of ZDF on this topic are correspondingly diverse: These include the communication of respectful coexistence, the role of a reliable source in times of crisis, support in distinguishing between reliable and fake information, the contribution to democracy education, easy accessibility to ZDF content, and the responsibility to keep the memory of German and European history alive. 70 percent of the ZDF audience believe that ZDF fulfills its educational mandate (largely or fully). The more often people use ZDF, the better they rate the service.

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Use and perception of ZDF

The use of ZDF is linked to the general orientation towards education and the general mood towards society. Typologies of respondents according to orientation towards education, satisfaction with democracy, confidence in the future and perceived division in society revealed significant differences in expectations of ZDF and in the perceived services. The study underlines findings from social science studies that show a high proportion of the population that is critical of democracy as it exists in Germany, whose confidence in the future is low and who perceives a division in society.

The “Terra X plus School” web offering is being expanded

The study thus provides valuable insights for the future direction of ZDF and its educational offerings. ZDF continues to work on fulfilling its educational mandate and meeting the needs and expectations of the population in this area as best as possible. A key starting point is uncovering fake news. People should be supported in unmasking it. A further step: ZDF is strengthening its verification teams for elections and making the educational offering easier to find and use for students and teachers. To this end, the “Terra X plus School” web offering is being expanded, accessibility is being made easier and it is being better adapted to the needs of school lessons.

Information about the survey

The survey was conducted between October 25 and November 17, 2023 by the mindline Institute for Media Research (Berlin) and the Leibniz Institute for Media Research I Hans Bredow Institute (HBI, Hamburg). 1237 respondents took part, and a mixed-mode approach was chosen as the method (CATI I telephone sample 40 percent, CAWI (Online Access Panel): 60 percent).

You can find detailed information about the education study here.