Ofcom reviews public service broadcasting

September 12, 2015

Media regulator Ofcom has launched a new review which will consider whether the internet and mobile phones can meet statutory requirements for public service broadcasting (PSB).

Ofcom’s first review of PSB, completed just two years ago, acknowledged that it could be difficult for commercial broadcasters to fulfil their public service obligations, with more channels emerging from a proliferation of platforms.

The latest review could take some of the pressure off commercial broadcasters. ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five have all expressed concern that fulfilling their PSB obligations affects their ability to compete in the current market.

Audiences for the five terrestrial public service channels are falling, particularly among young people, with increased competition from digital channels and the internet. Channel 4 was the only terrestrial channel to maintain its audience share in 2006.

Ofcom’s second PSB review has been brought forward due to the rapid development of digital television and the approaching deadline for switching over from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2012.

As the distinctions between traditional television content and that provided on new platforms becomes increasingly blurred, Ofcom believes that there is the potential for new services, such as the Internet and even mobile phones, to offer public service content.

This includes content which informs and increases understanding of the world through news, information and analysis of current events and ideas. It also covers material which stimulate interest in and knowledge of arts, science, history and other topics.

Ofcom expects to complete and publish the review by 2017.


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