Monday, 11 May 2009

Identify the challenges faced by PSB in recent years (1990) and consider its position within the current Uk broadcasting market.

Public service broadcasting has seen a number of challenges in order for it to succeed in the current Uk broadcasting market, as research such as existence of new technologies, and the 1990 Broadcasting act show this. The main requirements of PSB is to keep up a high standard and wide range of programmes, which cater for a various audience such as educational, religious shows and currents news.  Public service broadcastings need to cater for everyone, as the public are the ones who are paying the licence fee. This could mean that there is too much focus on the customer satisfaction, rather than the financial success. 

There is a limit on the range of specialist interests which can be shown on tv, but there is a clear duty from the BBC and channel 4 to act in a way to guarantee a range of programming. The BBC aim to provide a broad spread of popular programming and supplement this with more varied material on BBC 2.

PSB could be unsuccessful if their ratings become the only factor concerning programme success, as it is reduce the purpose of PSB’s aim for the public benefit. Dating back to the earlier years of PSB, the BBC has struggled to survive the broadcasting market, because when Rupert Murdoch planned to expand commercial tv, the government questioned the BBC licence fee. Ministers argued that unless the corporation produced programmes that everyone watched, they could not expect universal funding. However it was once again questioned due to the Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand incident in 2008, when they made a series of prank calls to Andrew Sachs on Radio 2. Not only does this question the fee but it also questions the way the BBC is run, which makes the scandal hugely damaging, and it may have now seriously undermined the case for the license fee.

As we are gaining new technologies, Sky and digital programming have to be taken into consideration.  For example as viewers now have a variety of channels on digital tv, it allows them to view almost anything. This does then question the purpose of PSB. A 2009 survey states that 42.6 % of people decide to watch "Other Programming" on their T.V, compared to just 19.4 % for the BBC. By the time the digital switchover happens in 2012, PSB could come to an end all together.

The BBC has been criticized by some for being expansionist and exceeding its public service remit by providing content that could be provided by commercial broadcasters. They argue that the  BBC can distort the market, making it difficult for commercial providers to operate. A notable example of this is the Internet services provided by the BBC. However, those who defend the BBC suggest that the BBC needs to provide new services and entertainment, to remain relevant in the digital age. There are also questions about the public service commitments of the commercial broadcasters. All commercial channels that broadcast solely on digital platforms do not have public service requirements imposed. After digital switchover many of these channels will have the same coverage as the analogue commercial broadcasters. This has raised the question of how the analogue commercial broadcasters, with their costly public service obligations, will compete on a level playing field with such digital channels.

What is public service broadcasting?

Public Service Broadcasting (PSB)is broadcasting made, financed and controlled by the public, for the public. It is neither commercial nor state-owned, free from political interference and pressure from commercial forces. Through PSB, citizens are informed, educated and also entertained. When guaranteed with pluralism, programming diversity, editorial independence, appropriate funding, accountability and transparency, public service broadcasting can serve as a cornerstone of democracy.

UNESCO's work in the field of public service broadcasting focuses on:
enhancing the utility of PSB as an educational and cultural vehicle, especially for disadvantaged communities
promoting best PSB practices and professional standards and contributing to relevant revisions of national legislation
strengthening PSB as a gateway to information and knowledge for all
fostering the indigenous content quality and technological upgrading of public service broadcasting
encouraging innovative and creative improvements in programming to captivate larger audiences
upholding discussions between media professionals, decision-makers, and other stakeholders on major PSB-related issues.

In the future the programme will focus upon:
sustaining editorially independent broadcasters in the substantial fulfillment of their cultural, educational and social roles
contributing to capacity-building and providing training in modern broadcasting, particularly in issues related to ICTs.
Encouraging media professionals to reduce unnecessary display of violence in television programmes and to focus on delivering unbiased information to all citizens
stimulating an international debate on the significant PSB-related issues and its impact on education, culture and civil society
strengthening partnerships with professional media organizations and cretaing new alliances with major stakeholders In order to reinforce media pluralism, UNESCO promotes public service broadcasting as well as the editorial independence of the media in both the private and public sectors.