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Plurality of public service provision in the United Kingdom and beyond

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This article discusses Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) and pluralism in the United Kingdom broadcasting market, and critically assesses the regulator Ofcom's developing ideas with regard to provision of PSB in the digital age. It then moves on to outlining the state of plurality of PS providers and PS programming in other European territories. The main point is that although the PSB is under strain across Europe due to licence fee limits, and regulatory and social changes, the debate on plurality of institutions, plurality of channels and plurality of sources of funding is well advanced in the United Kingdom, but in the rest of Europe PSB is still primarily defined in terms of internal pluralism and most European countries have mainly focused on pluralism within the PSB, rather than between different providers. There is no historical precedent or current thinking for licence fee revenue being used to fund the creation of content on channels beyond the incumbent PSB.
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Keywords: European experience; Office of Communications; Public service broadcasting; Public service programming; licence fee funding; plurality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: City University London.

Publication date: 01 December 2010

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