The future of public service broadcasting (UK)

Ofcom launched the first phase of its review of public service broadcasting (PSB). The review sets out alternative ways that PSB can be funded in the future to meet the demands of audiences, including content which is widely available, free at the point of use and which serves all communities within the UK. The review covers all public service broadcasters, both publicly-owned (the BBC, Channel 4 and S4C), and commercial (ITV1, five and Teletext).

The main highlights of the consultation are:

* Public service broadcasting is at a crossroads.

* Audiences value competition for the BBC, but the underlying economics of commercial public service broadcasting are increasingly difficult.

* Audiences place a high value on UK-made public service programming from a mix of providers, but there is risk that this will not be provided to the same degree in the future.

* Audiences are increasingly taking advantage of new digital media to access public service content.

* A new sustainable model for public service broadcasting is needed, with a range of options for funding and provision considered.

Next steps:

As part of its review, Ofcom will consult a wide range of stakeholders, from television viewers, politicians, broadcasters and content providers, and others in the industry. Ofcom’s consultation closes on 19 June. Following this, a second consultation in the autumn will examine the possible long term models and funding options in more detail and set out specific options on the shorter term issues including nations and regions programming, Channel 4, and children’s programming.

The full consultation can be found at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/psb2_1/.


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