"'Infotainment' and 'edutainment' were probably the first distinct genres to emerge from the interactive media revolution that began in the late 1980s. The two terms describe a style of programme in which facts are presented in an entertaining manner, using all the capabilities of interactive multimedia systems. They differ only marginally, 'edutainment' being used to describe software designed for self-paced learning in a more structured manner. Both deal with facts, and both are aimed at the emerging 'information leisure' market created by the new interactive media.
Of course these hybrids of 'informative entertainment' and 'educational entertainment' have their precursors in older media. Originating in print genres such as popular encyclopedias, illustrated atlases and children's books, infotainment and edutainment became increasingly multimedia in form with the introduction of film and television. The film documentary and more recently the television documentary, cinema and then television news, have culminated in infotainment on a grand scale [...].
Given McLuhan's observation that 'the content of the new media is the old media', it is not surprising that hypermedia has subsumed these older genres. The range of interactive infotainment also echoes that of the broadcast media, and includes the quiz game, the documentary and the travel programme. Infotainment programmes certainly provide the bulk of the software so far produced for interactive media. [...]
Future infotainment and edutainment programmes are likely to use an ever greater variety of media to elucidate the idea, and to narrate or illustrate the information content. They will have less bias toward the pure textual or alphanumeric information that comprises conventional textbooks and many of the niche-market CD-ROM information discs. They may also provide a number of different ways in which the information content can be addressed."