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Under siege by commercial interests? BBC and DR Online between the national and European policy frameworks

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The increasing competition in media markets, the economic downturn and the cyclical decline in advertising revenues have put the private media sector under increasing strain around the world. As a result, commercial operators have boosted their lobbying activities to increase their influence on media policy-making. They are demanding that national authorities reduce regulatory control on private enterprises while raising oversight on public initiatives and cutting new public sector initiatives. This article examines how two European public service broadcasters (PSBs) have expanded in the online world: the BBC in the United Kingdom and Danmarks Radio (DR) in Denmark. It analyses the main policies adopted by the governments of the two nations to regulate the evolution of PSBs on the Internet as well as the policies and practices adopted by the BBC and DR. Furthermore, it reveals how the commercial pressure that has clearly influenced the more recent national policies on public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom and that has spread its influence in Brussels is impacting on the expansion online of PSBs. The article eventually questions the possibility of developing a public service broadcasting philosophy across the Internet (PSB 2.0).
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Keywords: BBC Online; DR Online; European Commission Communication 2009; Internet; PSB 2.0; Public service broadcasting online; policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Brunel University.

Publication date: 2010-12-01

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