Reinventing Public Service Broadcasting in Europe

Prospects, Promises and Problems

Johannes Bardoel & Leen d’Haenens

University of Amsterdam; Catholic University of Leuven; Raboud University Numegen

Media, Culture and Society, SAGE Publications, 2008, 30(3), p.337-355


Abstract

New information technologies, liberalising policies and rapidly changing societies – from mono- to multicultural – entail serious consequences for the prospects of European public service broadcasters in a network society. The European concept of PSB as a comprehensive and universal service

is challenged by both EU and national authorities at three levels: 1) mission and program task (comprehensive or complementary programming?), 2) organization (central organisation or a ‘distributed public service’?) and 3) financing (license fee, advertising or ‘state aid’?). There are pressures towards a more ‘pure’ model of public service broadcasting and/or towards de-institutionalisation of PSB and ‘distributed public service’. Recent pleadings for (eg, in the Netherlands) and practices (eg, in New Zealand) of new PSB policy directions will be evaluated. The paper deals with the question whether the European full-fledged PSB model is still realistic or a more small-scale public service à la the American PBS would be a more viable prospect.

To read the full article, see Sage Publications here.