Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
EBU campaigns for independent media
The EBU has continued its campaign for diverse and free public service media (PSM) by calling for Europe’s governments to maintain funding levels for public service broadcasting, if necessary by increasing existing license fees.
EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre urged European governments to help ensure that PSM fulfill their mission, based on principles of universality, diversity and independence, speaking on a panel at the European Forum for New Ideas on new funding models for PSM in the 21st century. Deltenre said it was essential that PSM receives sufficient and sustained funding.
She appeared to indicate that public broadcasters should not be too reliant on advertising, echoing steps taken in some countries such as France and Spain to restrict carriage of ads at certain times.
"Make no mistake," said Deltenre, "if something is free, you are the product. Your eyeballs are sold to the advertising industry."
On the same panel, chairman of Poland’s national broadcaster Telewizja Polska(TVP) Juliusz Braun pointed out that the cost of producing original programs locally was about 10x greater than purchasing a foreign series of equivalent length and adding subtitles, or dubbing. He also pointed out that Poland, like some other countries, has a problem collecting the license fee, which only a minority of Poles pay. Most of TVP's income is therefore derived from advertising. He urged his government to enforce license fee collection.
"If people want Polish content, it will have to be paid for," he said.
The EBU backs this position, urging European governments to spend to preserve the continent’s great cultural and linguistic diversity at a time when budgets are being cut in many sectors.