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Public Service Broadcasting Essay Example

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Public Service Broadcasting

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Public Service Broadcasting. Of television has drawn large investments for documentaries on social issues, history, science, technology and environment, particularly those aired in BBC2 and Channel 4, which are within the state-owned British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) group. While BBC1 (which airs only news programs) and BBC2 (which airs documentaries) are the most typical PSB platforms, Channel 4, which can commission and buy documentaries but not make its own, has an annual budget of 30 million pounds - 6 percent of its total budget - for PSB programs. The federal grouping of 15 regional television companies, Independent Television (ITV), also has important public service requirements that it has to adhere to (Rowan, 2005).

BBC has for years been the epitome of public service broadcasting as this medium is typically considered as the voice of the nation. Yet, despite being publicly owned, the PSB approach has been challenged since the early mid-60s with the advent of the private broadcaster, ITV, which cater to the mass market – so long neglected by BBC – and following a friendly and informal format, which led BBC’s viewer drop by as much as 28 percent (Blumler, n. BBC responded to changes in the viewer pattern and since then has been aggressively producing or buying documentaries made by independent producers, reflecting many alternate ideas and formats that may not always adhere to the idea of nationalism. Changes in consumer tastes have further modified the quality, content and format of broadcasting. The television industry in the UK is gradually making a transformation, with a greater role of the private sector. Cable and satellite television, BskyB (40 percent of which is owned by global media giant, Rupert Murdoch) has made inroads into British homes despite the requirement of set top boxes. BskyB has already gained 3 ½ million subscribers and attracts 10 percent viewers in the country. Thus, independent programmers in the UK now have a much larger platform including the PSBs as well as private broadcasters. In order to capture the mass market, the format of programs has changed, often trivializing or sensationalizing issues. Particularly, since ITV is a conglomeration of a number of regional companies, programming has become more wide-based, incorporating regional and global issues and not necessarily national issues. Also, financial crunch in the 1980s forced the British television industry to be more market-oriented and less regulated by government. Public Service Broadcasting.

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