Strategy / strategic

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With discussions on the role and effectiveness of public service media in a networked media ecology taking place alongside budget-cuts and (enforced) organziational efficiency, notions of ‘distinctiveness’ are often reflected in policy discussions. Especially during recent cutbacks, policy statements often reflected a ‘back-to-basics, back to core business’ rhetoric.

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Confronted with technological, political and social changes, most public service broadcasters in Western Europe have lost the unquestionable ‘license to operate’ in the digital age. While research has focused on adaptation strategies for public service broadcasters, communicative legitimacy management has received insufficient attention.

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The paper takes the view that a complete transformation of PSM institutions and strategies is necessary to cope with the disruptive changes in media use. Broadcast enterprises are endangered by the generation rift, vanishing relevance in their traditional fields and a minor role in online competition.

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The debate on public value has been (re-)shaping public service media strategy and policy in Europe for more than five years. In a nutshell, the concept implies a general shift – away from audiences, customers, state actors and commercial competitors as frames of reference for public service media action – towards the public as main beneficiary of its output.

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“It is an interesting paradox,” said Alastair Campbell in a speech at London College of Communication, “that though we have more media space than ever, complaint about the lack of healthy debate has never been louder, with fewer stories and issues being addressed in real depth in a way that engages large audiences.” Although Campbell’s statement must be understood from his background as former

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Production of content(s) is central in the strategic positioning of the future public service broadcasting as expressed, for example, in the strategic documents of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The point of departure for such a view is the so-called new media value chain which is supposed to structure the role of different media in the converging media environment.

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Producers, politicians and critics seem to agree that it is important to the national culture that domestically produced TV fiction is continually provided (produced) because it attracts a large audience and because it is said to protect shared values in a multicultural society.

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Today’s globalized network communication shapes new interactive formats, relevant
not only for the dissemination, but – increasingly – for the production of news. The
‘one-way’ flow of news from a news outlet to the audience has been replaced by a
network structure. Following Manuel Castells’ concept of the ‘Network’ (1996) as the

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Deptford.TV is an online media database documenting the urban change of Deptford, in South-East London. It operates through the use of free and open source software, which ensures the users continued control over the production and distribution infrastructure.

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