If and when Twitter takes hold in Scandinavia, it remains to be seen what effect that might have on teletext’s longevity, especially as the older generations of teletext readers—who read exclusively on their television sets—are replaced by smartphone-addicted younger generations. Will they continue to download teletext apps, and appreciate the uncluttered, all-business content that the news outlets put out? Or will younger users prefer the conversational, brightly-colored, and nearly-immediate social network as the go-to place for the news of the moment?
NRK’s Erik Bolstad doesn’t think that social media necessarily replaces teletext, nor does the Internet; each one has its own particular purposes. But he noted in a follow-up e-mail conversation that mobile news apps accessed via smartphone could be starting to replace Teletext for users under 50. “We have a very steep increase in mobile news usage, and a slow decline of Teletext, which seems to be related,” he writes. Teletext was designed to be used for quick, frequent headline-checking, rather than long reads or analysis, he explains, and many mobile news apps have the same function and usage patterns.
Although teletext has survived—even thrived—in Scandinavia for much longer than even its developers could rightfully expect it to, its gradual decline is inevitable. So enjoy its artful simplicity while you can.