Abstract: Media performance is constitutive for functioning democracies. But what is the situation regarding media performance in the age of digitalisation? And how can media performance continue to be assured under the current difficult economic conditions for the news industry? In this essay, we give a short overview of how media performance research has developed from the introduction of private broadcasting to the spread of the Internet and social media. In the course of this development, the initial focus of media performance research on media content has broadened to include media quality from the user perspective. We show how the contributions to this thematic issue relate with existing lines of media performance research, but also add new facets to them. Finally, we point to the directions in which research on media performance should evolve in order to keep pace with current developments in the media market.
Keywords: democracy; information intermediaries; media consumption; media performance; media quality; media structures; news quality; social media