This however depends on wider pressure from civil society to ensure that bodies using valuable public resources (license fees, spectrum) do serve a wider public interest and not a narrow political interest.
Damian TambiniLondon School of EconomicsDepartment of Media and CommunicationsLSE Media Policy Projecthttp://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mediapolicyproject/
Introduction to Project• Mapping Digital Media: Open Society Foundations 2010-2013• Three year study of digital media transitions in 50 countries(beyond EBU area).• Country case studies (rather than comparisons ortransnational research) can shed light on trends, bestpractice, some comparative claims• But relying on country data limits comparability• Covering a range of issues related to ‘digital media and theopen society’• A ‘policy engaged’ study for policy advocates and NGOs.• Some preliminary thoughts on “state administered and PublicService” broadcasters. (published later this year).
Overview of this talk• Some long term hypotheses on PSM funding and governanceduring the digital transition• Comments on the hypotheses in the light of:1: EBU data presented today2: some of our project findings• Some comments on Radio in the light of TV experiences
Long Term Hypotheses on PSM• Commercialization/ Dumbing down/ dilution of remit incontext of increased competition. Leads to problems ofjustification of remit/funding and state aid and eventualcollapse of PSB.• Inevitable decline of audience for PSB genres/ channels? Endof Hammocking (Tambini 2004).• End of control of market entry and value of ‘spectrum forservice’ undermines advertising value (Collins, Ofcom 2004) .
Hypotheses…• Digitization will lead to successful renewal from PSB to PSM/public service ‘Communications’ Tambini, Iosephides(2010, 2012), Renegotiation of Remit, (Jakubowicz 2010), newPSB role in social media and community / UGC spaces• PSM is the more viable model given volatility and weakness ofadvertising model (since 2008).• Transformation into a more personalised service such aschannels for Niche ‘tribes’, and personalised consumer drivenexperience. (Thompson 1999). End of PSB as ‘nation builder’?
Hypotheses on ‘PSB’independence…• Where “PSBs” are captured by the ruling party, digitization canlead to opportunities of independence or pressures forindependence as audiences migrate to more independentnew entrants• Where PSBs are independent, digitization leads to threats toindependence due to politicisation of discussions of remit andfunding and new services review decisions, as well as‘switchover champion’ role for PSB.
EBU data:• Slight rebalancing from advertising to licence fee: confirmsvulnerability of spectrum awards as granting of indirectsubsidy for PSM• Increased volatility of PSB funding due to cyclical crisis andstructural shift in funding basis.Balancing of public vs private in the European MixedBroadcasting ecology: short term health of public funding andlicence fee models, but longer term weakness?.
Implications• Reliance on license fee, taxation and new funding sources: Isthis problematic for PSM independence?• Renegotiation of funding due to digital transition: is this initself a threat to PSM independence?• Longer term weakness of PSM in relation to wider mediaecology may lead to weakness of PSM in competitive marketsfor content and talent.• … importance of understanding balance of public and private
Germany. Evolution of the public/private ratio of funding, 2005-2010Private,75%Public,25%2005Private,75%Public,25%2010
Georgia. Evolution of the public/private ratio of funding, 2005-2010Private,85%Public,15%2005Private,68%Public,32%2010
PSM and the digital transition• Predicted audience losses for PSB TV continue: this seems to beunavoidable and relatively uniform, but these are notprecipitous, and are somewhat curtailed by the launch of newchannels (many of which have lower PSB obligations) and much lesspronounced in radio (thus far, notwithstanding plans for radioswitchover).• Most PSBs seem to have had a slight increase in funding between2005 and 2010.• Public value framework. Several of the correspondents expressedconcern that Public Value Tests may undermine the PSM in the longterm (E.g. Sweden). Concern about effectiveness(Germany), objectivity, and cost of implementation (UK).
From the case studies:Some funding models• Direct state funding (Hungary: after licence fee abolished in2002).• Political groups/ foreign donors (e.g. Lebanon)• Other donations (US, Moldova, .. )• Crowd funding (Netherlands, US.. )• Ecommerce converged models (Nigeria)• PPPs (Nigeria, South Africa).• New taxes (e.g the ‘sin tax’ on tobacco and alcohol, Thailland:Ceiling of 2BN THB/ annum)• Direct taxation funding (Netherlands)• Also: at what point is it relevant to value all ‘regulatoryassets’? (including spectrum, EPG, …).
PSM and Digital Switchover• PSM taking a leading role and receiving funding to do so (leading tothreat to independence? –e.g. Serbia)• Direct results of loss of audience due to switchover is almostuniversal and seems independent of other factors such as qualityand independence. (conflict of interest?)• PSM gaining new niche channels on DTTV with lower PSB obligationsin most (Sweden, UK, Germany) but not all (Albania, Serbia..) cases.(Tribes vs nation-building role).• Complex implications for advertising vs other licence fee revenues.Privatization? (Serbia).
Preliminary Conclusions?• Where PSBs are not impartial, digitization and choice is likelyto lead to increased pressure on the PSB to become moreimpartial. (For example inAlbania, Italy, Romania, Malaysia, Georgia, Kenya, Serbia andto a certain extent Japan, broadcasters attempting to presentthemselves as independent PSBs, and state broadcasters to alesser or greater extent transitioning to PSB, face strongerpressures to become more impartial in a more competitiveenvironment).• In Thailand, Germany, the UK, and Canada for example, wherethe perception of PSB independence and impartiality isgreater, there is less pressure for change. However PSBs maybe vulnerable to political pressure because of fundingdiscussions, especially if they do not have ‘patrons’ in power.
Implications for Radio• Learn from the TV experience• Digital Switchover of Radio: biggest challenge for PSB radio interms of audience• A particular challenge for hybrid funding models (withadvertising)?• Look carefully at PSB role in managing the transition and atpotential for loss of independence
Conclusions• We can discount the extreme hypotheses (inevitablemarketization or inevitable evolution to PSM).• There is no roadmap for the digital transition, but some usefultactics and potential traps. All the hypotheses had somethingin them, but it is too soon to conclude and .. We need moreresearch.