这是一篇北欧传媒学phd为UK客户定制的本科传媒论文代写稿子。文章主题是关于the future models of public services broadcasting.在大不列颠地区，公共服务广播不仅仅是人们日常生活的一部分，也是英国文化产业重要的一部分。但是随着人们进入网络时代，public services broadcasting面临了很多严峻的挑战。更多的人，尤其是年轻人，更加倾向于上网观看各种节目。这使得传统的传媒途径不得不更换自己的思路，这篇本科传媒论文代写文章讲的就是未来的public service broadcasting的新思路，新的模式。
Future Models of Public Service Broadcasting
Drawn from the Experiences of Channel 4 and Channel 5
Legislated for by Parliament, Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) is broadcasting providing public services and intended more for public benefit rather than purely commercial ends. Ofcom, a communication regulator under the Communications Act 2003, summarises the purposes of public service broadcasting as dealing with a wide range of subjects, catering for the widest possible range of audiences across different times of day and through different types of programme and maintaining high standards of programme-making. The public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom is not only the origin of world’s PSB, but its development has also become a classic model. PSB has long been an important part of both people’s daily life and UK culture industry. The third review of public service broadcast this year discovers that the 5 public service broadcasters in UK fulfills such purposes and continues to make significant contributions to UK broadcasting.
However, it has been argued about the balance between PSB’s commercial activities and expressions of cultural and educational norms. Also, many new challenges appear in this internet age since technology brings quite a lot of changes in programme distribution and audience watching habits. Many audiences, especially young audiences, prefer to watch programmes online instead of watching TV when the programmes are actually broadcast. It has been argued that PSB faces new threats and new responsibilities under new conditions. Channel 4 and Channel 5 are two latest public service broadcasters started in new historical backgrounds and are more open to change, different from the BBC, which goes through much more in its long history and has bigger culture significance than any other ordinary public service broadcaster. By analyzing the experiences of Channel 4 and Channel 5, we might draw about future models for Public Service Broadcasting.
A critical approach to research on this topic will revolve around two basic theoretical orientations, holistic and historical (Janus, 1977). It should be kept in mind that all events and experiences cannot be analyzed apart from their social context and historical conditions which shape it so that we can get a whole view of it. This essay will adopt a critical approach of the analysis and hopefully draw about future models and come up with some practicable suggestions.
The historical development of Public Service Broadcasting in UK
We cannot discuss about future without knowing the past development. Though relying on wireless technology at first, broadcasting, which means the transmitting of programmes to be heard or watched by a large number of people at the same time is rather a social invention than a technical one (Curran & Seaton, 2009). The British Broadcasting Corporation was founded in 1927 with a Royal Charter and a licence to replace the private British Broadcasting Company in 1922. Presented by the BBC’s first executive John Reith, the original BBC dictum “to inform, educate and entertain” also became the basic mission of the development of PSB (Scannell &Cardiff, 1991). Reith also insisted to provide what the elites think the public need, not what the public really want, which guaranteed the high quality and positive influence of the BBC’s programmes but also caused dissatisfactions among the public for ignoring their interests. For instance, The BBC still covered a lot of Royals life and showed little concern about workers’ life even during the 1930s big depression. On the other hand, focusing on cultural identity to promote national and ethnic solidarity is a duty for broadcasting of that time, which resulted in centralization of power and ignoring benefits of local societies. For these reasons, an intense debate on THE BBC’s monopoly of spectrum began in the 1940s, leading to the establishment of Beveridge Committee and their survey report Beveridge Report. Two suggestions were put forward in the report: decentralization of broadcasting and selling advertising time under the circumstance of not affecting content of the programmes, which became the basis of many of the reforms later implemented by the Attlee government.
The Television Act 1954 introduced the concept of “independent” television, setting up independent commercial TV channels in different regions to satisfy various need, and the proportion of programmes should be based on principles of equality, elegance and good taste (Williams, 2009). Independent Television (ITV) was launched in 1955 to compete to the BBC as a consequence of the Act, a network of channels set up partly in London and around the country with public service rather than simply commercial principles, which operate regional television services as well as sharing programmes between regions to be displayed on the entire network.
Thus formed a duopoly situation with the BBC focusing on universal service, while ITV focusing on public and regional service. However, the interests of minority groups such as Unions, ethnic groups, women and other marginalized groups are still not paid enough attention to. During the 1980s, broadcasting policy free-market ideas became dominant. A new broadcaster was in urgent need for all parties, producers wanted more autonomy, politicians wanted a new platform to discuss, and the public wanted diversity of programmes (Curran & Seaton, 2009). Finally, in 1982, Channel 4 went on air with a clever combination of commercial funding, an updated PSB remit which emphasised innovation and a broadcaster-publisher organisation to deliver it (Tambini & Cowling, 2004). This new channel promised a wider spread of viewpoints and there is no doubt that it added the range and improved the quality of existent broadcasting as well as playing an important role in the growth of independent production. A similar Welsh-language broadcaster-publisher named S4C was launched in the same year in Wales. In short, the enactment of licences are strictly controlled before 1990 and all broadcasters were public service broadcasters as a guarantee for obligations to broadcast non-profitable but merit programmes.
However, some significant changes happen in 1990s. Based on free-market beliefs, the Broadcasting Act 1990 legislated for a new broadcasting environment in which limitations of independent television was loosened and fiercely shook PSB ecology in UK. It not only caused competition for advertising revenue between ITV and Channel 4, but also allowed more channels than analogue cable, satellite and computer services. The UK government awarded a new licence to Channel 5 Broadcasting Limited in 1995 after two-round bidding. In 1997, Channel 5 was launched as the fifth and final national terrestrial network. It is a general entertainment channel that provides both internally commissioned programmes and foreign programmes, especially American TV programmes. This last national channel started in a complete different environment compared to other PSB channels, and all public service broadcasters have to face the fact that their audience share is carved up by other broadcasters.
There are five main public service broadcasters in the UK today, three public corporations: the BBC funded mainly by the television licence fee, Channel 4 self-funded by advertising, S4C funded by a combination of BBC funding, government grant and advertising in Wales, and Channel 3 (ITV, STV and UTV) and Channel 5 funded by advertising, whose licences are held by commercial companies. They are regulated and monitored by the Office of Communications (Ofcom) under the Communications Act 2003. These public service broadcasters are facing a unique and rapidly changing environment (Albarran, 2002): the adequacy of spectrum makes PBS unnecessary, more alternative ways to watch programmes makes it impossible to use only TV broadcasting to deliver valuable content, intense competition for advertising revenue gives commercial public service broadcasting more challenges, and regulations of promoting particular genres results in more vulgar programmes to attract audience such as documentaries about Nazis. Furthermore, legal definition of their objectives limits their ability to launch new channels for niche markets or online services.
PSB today: The experiences of Channel 4 and Channel 5
Publisher-broadcaster is an efficient and rational structure for UK broadcasters. One common ground of Channel 4 and Channel 5 is that they are both publisher-broadcasters, who commission programmes from a new sector such as independent television production companies, meeting a series of obligations for news and current affairs, original productions, regional products, subtitling and audio description services and so on. But their experiences are quite different.
There are two typical broadcasting models in UK, one is the BBC model, an ideal model for public service broadcasting, charging licence fee as a safe source of financing. The other is commercial broadcaster model, taking ITV and Channel 5 for example, obeying clear supply-demand logic (Zilic Fiser). As is mentioned before, Channel 4 was launched as an alternative broadcaster to the BBC and ITV, pure public or pure commercial broadcasters, thus it followed a hybrid model which required the channel to fulfil public service remits in an accepted way by the market cause all its funding is from commercial activities, and its revenue from these activities can be directly used to produce programmes and develop the infrastructure since this corporation has no shareholders. This hybrid model makes Channel 4 a very unique public service broadcaster in the world, bringing high quality programmes at zero cost to the taxpayer. One way to do this is cross-funding, using the revenues from high rating, high public-impact programmes such as Factual and pure entertainment programmes to support high public-impact programmes with smaller audiences such as News, Current Affairs and Education.
Channel 4’s positioning has changed from difference to mainstream to fragmentation (Born, 2003). According to Channel 4’s Annual Report, its newest remit is “innovative, alternative views, educational, inspire change, distinctive, invest in high quality content, nature talent, partnership, digital, cultural diversity, stimulate debate”, which makes up a core part of Channel 4’s DNA. Channel 4’s innovation embodies in both its content and diversity. Originated programmes are shown at all times of day on Channel 4 and digital media, costing ￡430 million in total in 2014, and the top biggest three genres in spend are Factual programmes, Entertainment and Drama (Sport is the third biggest genre in volume terms). Though having exceeded all licence obligations, money spent on key PSB genres including News, Current Affairs, is falling less year after year, which is not good for its cultural and educational expectations (Channel 4, 2015)
Unlike other broadcasters, Channel 4 doesn’t have its own production base, so it has to rely completely on external suppliers and provide support for the independent TV production companies. These companies can supply high quality programmes with fresh ideas and give public service broadcasters financial flexibility.
As is shown in the chart, the viewing share of the five main public service broadcasters is decreasing gradually with the development of other commercial channels. The main channel of Channel 4 and Channel 5 both see a sharp decrease of viewing share during the past decade, but we can also find the share of their digital portfolio is higher and higher. It’s a clever choice to set up companion channels for specific genres. In 2001, Channel 4 set up a digital pay-TV channel companion, E4, focusing on entertainment and aimed mainly at youth group aged 16-35, which gains more viewing share for the corporation.
Channel 5’s remit, the provision of a range of high quality and diverse programming, is more like ITV’s rather than Channel 4’s remit. Channel 5 is a commercial public service broadcaster now owned by Viacom International Media Networks, a US multinational company. Channel 5 also does well in cooperating with independent TV production companies, getting advantages in content innovation, financial flexibility, production efficiency and competition with other broadcasters (Starkey, Barnatt & Tempest, 2000).
Future models of public service broadcasting
We should keep in mind that broadcasting is a changing technology thus the models of PSB should keep pace with the changing circumstance. And new models can be drawn for future content and programmes, suppliers and digital television and online services.
1. Content and programmes
There has been a growing commercial drive in PSB since they have to compete with their private commercial counterparts. Instead of catering the mass audience to make money, public service broadcasters should carry a mission of adding programmes to guarantee the quality and diversity of contents shown to the public. One of their remits is innovation, and therefore they are more responsible for testing and adopting new genres of programmes and new technologies than their private counterparts. Programmes in the future should still cover traditional PSB key genres including News, Current Affairs, Education and schools programming, Comedy, Drama series and single dramas, Arts and Religion, but should also increase the proportion of programmes for niche market regardless of profits. Broadcasters should not risk to losing the core concept of PSB over commercialism, and they must separate public service content and commercial content from each other. And the regulators are required to redefine what the public should expect from broadcasters under a public funding mechanism.
PSB was launched and is still commissioned to provide services with high quality for people with a variety of tastes and interests, and it should cater for both the public and the minorities in spite of overwhelming commercialism (Trappel, 2008). These high values are still of vital importance in the future’s online services and digital television.
2. Suppliers and publisher-broadcaster model
Channel 4 and Channel 5 are both publisher-broadcasters, who keep buying in new products from external suppliers and provide them to audience instead of creating new products in in-house base. This is an ideal model for PSB in the future, which can not only improve innovative ability, flexibility and efficiency for broadcasters, but also prevent new international production entrants from competing with domestic companies (Starkey, Barnatt & Tempest, 2000). Publisher-broadcaster model will play a key role in providing plurality in public service broadcast and as a source of innovation in UK’s TV market.
One of the many advantages of digital age is that it provides easy access to become a producer, which creates new sources of programmes for public service broadcasters and new ways for talented organizations and individuals to develop on merit. Companies and individuals can gain a good reputation from their works in specific criteria, and attract broadcasters when they need new programmes in that area, like if a channel needs a new comedy, just contact the company producing the last hit show. It is convenient and comfortable for both the programme maker and the publisher-broadcaster, and will also benefit the end viewers with high quality programmes.
3. Digital TV and online services
Digitalization brings challenges to classical broadcasting and old regulatory mechanisms, public service broadcasters have to reconsider their content production and commission methods and their future models. Historical models of public service broadcasting have been changed with the transition to digital TV, and this increased the pressure on commercial PSB steadily, so new platforms are needed to diversify the revenue streams to public service broadcasters so that there is enough money to support their main channels (Born, 2003). This digital universe has made it easier and cheaper to set up a new branch channel. New digital channels focusing on specific genres will add total audience share to the broadcaster, like a combination of Channel Four (main channel for factual programmes), Film Four for film and E4 for entertainment can attract more audience to protect “4 shares”. In 2014, Channel 4 spent ￡40 million on original content for the digital channels, the highest ever. Also, multichannel and multiplatform services are good for maintaining and strengthening the public service broadcasters’ brand values, which may lead back to more audience shares. It is discovered that youth in UK today have little concept about PSB since they grow up in digital ages and are more interested in multichannel television (Grummell, 2009), but youth is a very important audience group and to attract a big and diverse enough audience has long been a core principle of PBS (Born & Prosser, 2001).
A practical model of providing cross-platform, cross-media and interactive services is feasible in the future, so is a theoretical model of media freedom that propose a new concept of PSB. PSB should not be limited only on television screens. During the past decades, many public service broadcasters have started to provide online services to deliver online digital content with public funding (Naylor, Driver & Comford, 2000). This is not contrary to their public service remit as long as they exercise their traditional function in the meantime (McGonagle, 2003). However, it is widely suggested that the role and remit of PSB should be optimized for them to adapt to the new situations better, one advice is to transform them into public providers of digital entertainment and information services (Arino & Ahlert, 2004).
We are witnessing some big changes in broadcasting environment, but there is no doubt that public service broadcasting still maintains high importance in the future. Theoretically, we can quote the concept of “public sphere” by Habermas, to consider PSB as a public forum between the government and the public available for rational public debate (Garnham, 1990), which is not a role commercial television will play. Historically, PSB has long been an essential part of people’s life and the broadcasters, especially the BBC, is an irreplaceable cultural symbol for the UK. Practically, the free-of-charge, non-profitable PSB remains one main source of reliable information. It is also true that public service broadcasting needs some new models to adapt a challenging future, publisher-broadcaster model successfully experienced by Channel 4 and Channel 5, and a cross-platform, cross-media and interactive model for digital and internet age. All the models should be used without changing the public nature of PSB. In addition, it is necessary to update the concepts and obligations of public service broadcasting in new age.
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