Public Service Television in the Multiplatform Era

Mary Debrett

La Trobe University, Australia

Media, Culture and Society, Sage Publications, 2009, 31(5), p.807-827


Despite their funding dilemmas, public service broadcasters are finding new legitimisation in the digital era. Re-asserting their mainstream status in the fragmenting marketplace, PSB institutions around the world are identifying new ways of delivering public service goals via interactive, on-demand media services across a range of platforms. By repositioning as media content companies, PSBs are forging new kinds of relationships with the public as viewers, users and producers, connecting communities, while also delivering an array of pluralist, personalised services. However, such changes inevitably bring new problems – conflicts with established practices, increased costs, new enemies in the marketplace and the temptation of new commercial revenue streams. Grounded in a series of industry interviews taken from across six case studies and referencing recent literature and policy documents, this article analyses the impact of public broadcasting’s digital rebirth on traditional public service principles.

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