Public Service Broadcasting


            The Public Service Broadcasting is a form of media broadcast intended to benefit the public instead of purely serving the commercial interest. The communication societies in different countries normally require that specific radio stations, as well as the television, should meet some requirements in order to obtain licenses for wider broadcasting. For example, the British Broadcasting Corporation's radio and television stations possess' public service remit and this is attributed to those stations that even broadcast in the digital platform (Cushion 2012, p.47). The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is a paradigm of the Public Service Corporation that is exclusively financed by the license fee and in most cases; it does not sell the advertising time. It is one of the first Public Service Broadcaster in the United Kingdom. There are many concepts applied in the Public Service Broadcast, these concepts define the mission of this magnificence media company as the informative, educator, and the entertainer in the global perspective. In most cases, the Public Service Broadcast are controlled by the government institutions and there is a level of domestic coverage that is placed by the government in order to facilitate the public good in education, entertainment, and the spread of information. Following the launch of the ITV in the 1950s, the government placed strict rules that enabled the broadcasters to put their emphasis on the domestic coverage (Cushion 2012, p.42). In several occasion, the local activities aired by the Public Service Broadcasters normally include cultural activities like religious and arts programming, local education system, and several cultural practices that encourage social growth. Most of the Public Service Broadcasts are owned by the government institutions and this explains why the government has the absolute control over them. There are some of the stations that are mainly formed for different purposes, to encourage the local culture, to enhance education or to support the public in acquiring information for different activities. The paper describes the roles of the Public service Broadcast in relaying information and all its components as well as whether it is relevant in the modern media system.

            The Public Broadcast Corporation as an institution includes television, radio, and various electronic media outlets that have a primary objective in the public service (Hendy 2013, p.22). The funding for these institutions usually comes from the government ministries specifically from the yearly fees obtained from the receivers. In the case of the United States, the public broadcasters may also receive the additional funds from the state and the federal government. The funding for these media houses may also come from well-wishers, private businesses. The public broadcasting may be operated both internationally and locally, and this greatly depends on the station and the country in where it is based. The Public Broadcasting is operated by the single organizations that are usually given full responsibility by the government, in some cases, the governments usually give it out as a contract where the best bidder to control of the entire responsibility of all the operations of these media houses (Henry 2007, p.51). On the other hand, there are some countries that possess manifold public broadcasting corporations that operate in diverse languages or regionally. For instance, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) operates in different languages across the world. There is BBC Swahili that mostly attracts listeners and viewers for the East African region where Swahili is a native language. When the regional branches of the Public Broadcasting are established, there is always a target to promote the cultural aspect of those regions through the use of the native language in airing several cultural aspects (Sjøvaag Moe and Stavelin 2012, p.39). In the past, the public broadcasting dominated many forms of media broadcast in several countries except in the United States where there were several media houses due to the early adoption of the freedom of media. In the modern times, the commercial broadcasting has expanded their operations in many countries around the world. The number of countries that solely depended on the public broadcasting dropped solely towards the end of 20th century (Hendy 2013, p.22). The public Service Broadcasting Corporation is meant to uphold the socio-cultural values that are important for a specific society. It is common knowledge that human values are valued by different societies across the world. Social integration is a common factor that every government wants to achieve in the current global social set-up, and it is through the Public Service Corporation that these needs can be achieved. The social inclusiveness is usually brought about by the media companies and this is an essential element that is part of the Public service Broadcast Corporation that is majorly owned and funded by the government. When concentrating on the public good, this media house does not usually gain much profit from its activities but rather concentrate on the public benefit. The Public Service Broadcasting Corporation has been defined as the tool that installs the cultural norms to the people in the society as a whole. The channels are usually distributed across the world, for example, the Public Service Broadcast of Singapore has over seventy channels across the globe that serve its people in the global perspective through the spread of the cultural practices. The Public Service Corporations usually assist the tourist or the foreigners who may want to visit the specific country for diverse reasons. Another socio-cultural activity carried out by the Public Service Broadcast Corporation is the support for the special social interests groups like the minority in the society that includes women, children, youths and elderly. Exposing the interests of the above groups empowers them and enables them to become part of the society.

            The role of the public broadcasting corporations is to establish the identity of a nation or a specified social group. It advocates on behalf of the public citizens and promotes the social goods of the nation or community to the regional or global perspective. Another role is to ensure the informed society through the analysis of the current affairs and the provision of up to date information that is vital to the public and in the entire understanding of the global ideas. The public broadcasts are also meant to motivate learning and the spread of knowledge that included the education programs that targets the youth, children, and the general population in a given country. Despite all these benefits that the public broadcast brings to the society, there have been questions on whether this media house is still relevant today. There are many individuals who claim that this form of broadcast has been faced out by the growth and development of the digital technology that many people prefers across the world. In reality, there are still many public service broadcasts operating across the world, BBC being one of them that still have many viewers and listeners around the world and across different regions and languages.

            The growth of the digital age has given rise to numerous questions concerning the future of the public service broadcasting across many countries around the world. Many public broadcast corporations have been disparaged by some experts as broadcasting the programs that can be aired by the commercial broadcasters. With the above scenario, the public broadcasters have been perceived as the media house that causes distortion in the market, a situation that makes it difficult for the commercial broadcasters to operate effectively. Although the public broadcasting corporations have the rich cultural backing that encourages them to continue operating, they need to provide new entertainment services that conform to the modern culture in order to remain relevant in the digital market. The world is changing very first and the introduction of the digital systems in the media industry has enhanced the promotion of the commercialized media houses that that apply the digital techniques in their operations, this makes the public broadcast corporation to remain irrelevant in the modern market. 

            The rise of the digital age is characterized by the over reliance on the internet to broadcast different programs to the people. In the modern times, the availability of the internet enables people to obtain different information from different sources without relying solely on the media houses. For instance, the cultural information can be obtained from different internet sources without necessarily focusing on the sources from the public broadcast corporations.

 With the rise in the digital age, there are commercialized media houses that can relay real-time information before it gets into the studios and radio stations. Facebook is one of the social media sites where people can communicate and obtain the real first-hand information that may not be obtained from the public broadcast corporation. Before the rise of social media, there were biases in the some of the public broadcasts; this was due to the fact that the government had the full control of these media houses and there was some information that could not reach the public due to these strict measures that were observed by the government institutions. On the other hand, the rise of the digital age has influenced many people and currently, there are people who no longer rely not only on the public broadcast corporations but also on the modern commercialized media houses because they also exhibit some biases when it comes to the production of some important information. In most cases, the media houses are guided and they cannot produce the information that can eradicate the spirit of national and international integration. The public broadcasting corporations are not relevant in the modern digital system that is characterized by the modern cultural norms. With the first changing cultural trends, the public broadcasting corporation will be on the enormous shock as they will have no cultural values to air due to the fact that the world is becoming one and people are developing common cultures and different ways of life.

            The public service broadcasters are not relevant today because the information they relay cannot reach many people in the regions where there are no distributions of their channels. The modern digital broadcasts are accessible in many geographical regions across the world, a situation that is making it efficient for the listeners to obtain first and reliable information (Uricchio 2009, p.59). The analog public broadcast continues to charge high prices amidst the competitive digital age that is characterized by the efficiency in the spread of information into both poor and efficient networked geographic regions. The reduction in the prices of the analog public broadcast would mean the reduction in their operation, a situation that can suddenly lead to their collapse. The above scenario, therefore, makes it hard for these media houses to thrive in the digital age where the efficiency, as well as the low costs, is maintained across the board. The ITV has been putting up more attempts to significantly reduce its obligations in producing and broadcasting non-profitable public service broadcast programming, indicating the increase in the competition posed by the multichannel and digital televisions across the world (Katz and Scannell 2009, p.25). Additionally, the Channel 4 has predicted the gaps in funding when they proceed with the public service broadcasting after the adoption of the digital system of broadcasting. The above scenario indicates that the rise of the digital broadcast has made it hard for the public broadcast to survive in the modern media market. There has been a consultation on the direction which the public service broadcast corporations can take amidst the modern competitive age, a situation whose solution proves difficult going by the current media market.

 The public broadcasting corporations are finding it hard to justify their funding models due to the rise of a digital broadcast that serves numerous people across the world. The main aim of the government before the digital takeover was to ensure that the information reaches the maximum number of people within a short time; this was the reason behind the funding from the government institutions. On the other hand, due to the increase in the number of commercialized digital media, the number of people being served has increased significantly due to the access of different vital information sources (Uricchio 2009, p.59). It is also challenging for the public broadcasters to obtain financial businesses and individuals because their services are deemed by many people as obsolete and irrelevant in the modern systems. Businesses would prefer showcase their products in the digital platforms because that is where they will find numerous potential customers. The increase in the number of digital media houses has made it hard for the analog public broadcast due to the shared networks that sometimes favor the digital transmission. The main purpose of the digital system is to increase the efficiency of the transfer of information from one source to the other, a situation that has largely suppressed the analog system of information transmission solely applied by the public service broadcasts. 

            In conclusion, although the public broadcasting corporations have greatly promoted the societal integration of people in the global perspective, it is becoming irrelevant in the modern digital systems that are characterized by the efficiency in the transfer of information. The analog public broadcast corporations have been faced with mega financial challenges as well as the technical upheavals that are all characterized by the emergence of the digital systems of communication. Although some of them are still operating in these challenging environments, they are on the verge of collapse unless there is a miracle that can surpass the above situations. The solutions that can be found can only conform to the digital system of operation that is embraced by many digital systems in the current world.



Cushion, S., 2012. The democratic value of news: Why public service media matter. Palgrave Macmillan.

Hendy, D., 2013. Public service broadcasting. Palgrave Macmillan.

Henry, J., 2007. Transmedia Storytelling 101. Web log post. Confessions of an Aca-Fan. Henry Jenkins, 22.

Katz, E. and Scannell, P., 2009. The end of television?: Its impact on the world (so far) (Vol. 625). Sage.

Sjøvaag, H., Moe, H. and Stavelin, E., 2012. Public service news on the web: a large-scale content analysis of the Norwegian broadcasting corporation's online news. Journalism Studies, 13(1), pp.90-106.

Uricchio, W., 2009. Contextualizing the broadcast era: Nation, commerce, and constraint. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 625(1), pp.60-73.