Hot Topic - Public Broadcasting / Mission, Finance and Politics
Feuding publishers and public broadcasters are by no means ready to put down their pens, pixels or pitchforks. Battles over the illusive digital dividend shuttle between courtrooms and smoke-filled rooms. Laws are unclear, politicians uneasy and time passes quickly. Litigating the past, in the digital age, is quite unproductive.
Public broadcasters working under constrained independence, administrative and financial, risk default to State broadcasting. Those separated barely a generation from dogmatic control face stiff resistance to new and open practice. Authorities always prefer a pliant mouthpiece.
Satire, of course, can bite. That makes this comedic form perfect for television; quick, witty and to the point. Farce is theatrical, blending exaggerated characters with seemingly random nutty events. The human mind benefits from humor, noted Sigmund Freud, to “outwit the internal censor.” External censors, having no sense of humor, are relegated to tragedy.
Media regulation changes most when money is the object. Politicians are predisposed to crunch numbers in favor of short-term gain, elections being the most obvious. Broadcasters must consider transmitters, salaries as well as paper clips, air conditioning and pensions. Pulling a string makes the top spin fast enough to overcome inertia. Direction is something else.The advertising people know this.
Cultural insecurities are at the root of populist and nationalist political movements. For all the obvious reasons no nation is immune. The media sector, public media in particular, is often singled out for reflecting a more liberal, cosmopolitan society at odds with traditionalists, certainly those with a conspiracy theory or two. Learning from the past is necessary, living there foolish.
Television people are unusually sensitive these days. The crystal ball shows Netflix, Amazon and HBO attracting viewers as they commission impressive new shows. Broadcasters are being gobbled up by telecoms, cable operators and others seeking the immediate gratification of shareholder value. Unable to keep their hands above the table are the politicians, typically a decade or two behind and narrowly focused on the spoils. It’s time to give that ball a shake.
Traditional television broadcasters have been backed into a painful corner. Video on demand services of the subscription kind are steadily raiding viewers who will pay for top flight drama and comedy series. Big name live sports is increasingly the domaine of pay-TV operators. Free-to-air broadcasters find the left-overs less than tasty.
See also in ftm Knowledge
Public Broadcasting - Arguments, Battles and Changes
Public broadcasters have - mostly - thrown off the musty stain of State broadcasting. And audiences for public channels are growing. But arguments and battles with politicians, publishers and commercial broadcasters threatens more changes. The ftm Knowledge file examines all sides. 168 pages PDF (March 2014)
Few pure media brands transcend borders and boundries to acheive the iconic status of the BBC. The institution has come to define public service broadcasting. Yet missteps, errors and judgment questions fuel critics. The BBC battles those critics and competitors and, sometimes, itself. 155 pages PDF (August 2015)
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Fake News, Hate Speech and Propaganda – new
The institutional threat of fake news, hate speech and propaganda is testing the mettle of those who toil in news media. Those three related evils are not new, by any means, but taken together have put the truth and those reporting it on the back foot. Words matter. This ftm Knowledge file explores that light. 48 pages, PDF (March 2017)
In the media sphere nothing is more important than knowing the audience. Once in a generation a target group evolves to catch the attention of publishers and broadcasters, advertisers and media buyers, social critics and politicians. The Millennials, also known as Generation Y and digital natives, are it, with unique characteristics and behaviors. They have already reshaped everything we do. 35 pages, PDF (December 2016)
State Aid - Media Rules
National authorities have at their disposal a variety of economic measures to stimulate, develop and improve competitive market sectors. Sometimes they miss the big picture or have special circumstances. Within the European Union an executive branch of the European Commission stands ready to clarify the rules of each and every game. State Aid rules are developing as the playing field gets bigger. 35 pages, PDF (September 2016)
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