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Evaluating and regulating the role of public broadcasters in the children’s media ecology: The case of home-grown television content

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This article examines the evaluation and regulation of public service broadcasting’s (PSB’s) contribution to home-grown children’s content, a key marker of difference with commercial rivals. UK experience forms the core of the analysis, but throughout we connect findings to experiences in other European countries. We concentrate on PSB’s interventions in TV, but consider this within the wider scope of multiplatform and online activities that occupy increasing proportions of children’s time. We start by outlining the rationale for children’s PSB, before briefly unpacking the pressures it faces. Using schedule analysis of children’s channels in five European countries, PSB’s distinctiveness from US transnationals is demonstrated by higher levels of domestic content. This opens up discussion about the value of domestic content, as well as market failure in children’s broadcasting. We consider different policy tools for ensuring domestic content and public service goals, before considering the effectiveness and evaluation of PSB approaches, which now extend beyond television.

Keywords: TV production; broadcasting; children’s television; content; market failure; media policy; public service broadcasting; public value test

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Westminster

Publication date: April 23, 2012

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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