What is Public Service on the Internet? Digital Challenges for Media Policy in Europe

Lars W Nord

Abstract


ABSTRACT: Almost all public broadcasters in Europe nowadays face serious challenges in order to remain as central media actors in dramatically changing media environments. Concepts that have recently come into the audiovisual scenario, such as digitalization, deregulation and convergence of the European media markets help to explain why many public service broadcasting companies have to fight for their survival. The main reasons are the more competitive media environment and the subtle, blurred lines among public and private broadcasting and other media platforms. The core challenge facing public service broadcasting today is the transition to public service media.
Different media policy options are discussed in this paper. Firstly, an expansive strategy may be implemented, aimed at allowing public service to use public funds and license fees for Internet operations and also by accepting additional revenues such as sponsoring or advertising to secure online activities. Secondly, a preserving strategy is possible where public service may use its existing revenues freely on different media, but without receiving any extra money for Internet operations. Thirdly, policy makers may adopt a restricting strategy, accepting public service presence on the Net, but only with special kinds of content. Fourthly, it is possible to imagine a free-market strategy where public service on the Net is allowed as long as all its operations are financed by commercial revenues from the Internet activities.

Keywords


public service media, digitalization, Internet, media policy, media systems

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15847/obsOBS322009256