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EU state aid rules, public service broadcasters' online media engagement and Public Value Tests: the German and UK cases compared

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Abstract:

The article examines how the competition issues raised by the public service broadcasters' (PSBs) new media engagement have been handled in Germany and the United Kingdom. Private communications interests, and certain political actors, have sought to restrict the scope of public service broadcasting, particularly with regard to their online media operations. EU state aid rules have been called into play by complaints from the private media sector about unfair competition and market distortion. The article looks at how the PSBs and media policy-makers have handled the competition issues raised by the PSBs' online media engagement, and explains how they have met the requirements of EU state aid rules. To be precise, the article examines the development of the Public Value Test in the United Kingdom and its equivalent in Germany, the Three-Step-Test (Drei Stufen Test). The article considers the issues surrounding implementation of these tests and the implications of the new procedures for the future organization, accountability and output of the PSBs.

Keywords: EU state aid rules; Germany; Online media; Public Value Tests; United Kingdom; public service broadcasting

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/iscc.1.2.171_1

Affiliations: University of Manchester.

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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