It is widely accepted in popular and scholarly discourse that Eastern European socialist media were mere tools of control and state propaganda. This article proposes a new approach that focuses on the cultural functions of socialist television. Using 1960s Bulgarian Television as a case study, this piece traces the participation of this new medium in the construction of a unique socialist mode of consumption described in local scholarly and political literature as ‘harmonious consumption’. Through the work of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov the study highlights some of the challenges posed by the new consumption patterns of the late 1950s and 1960s and then outlines how television tried to respond to them. The main argument of the essay is that through its engagement with high culture and education, socialist television constituted an alternative television model that deserves a long overdue attention.

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