EBU plans for sustainable public sector broadcasting

The EBU has started a long-term project to bolster public service broadcasting and ensure its members take steps to remain relevant over the next decade in the face of unprecedented changes in the industry.

The EBU says that the multi-year project called Vision 2020 will develop ideas to ensure that its members remain at the forefront of program making within their countries, and, at the same time, be receptive to their emerging needs in the multi-screen era.

Work on the project begins in October under the leadership of Dutch-born Ruurd Bierman, who has chaired the EBU TV Committee since 2009, and has been a member of the Executive Board of the Netherlands Public Service Broadcasting Corporation (NPO) since 2003. Bierman stated that during the first half of 2013, members will be invited to participate in a conference to define future trends in terms of audience, media consumption, socio-demographics, politics and technology.

Four expert groups drawn from respective Member Committees will be supported by a dedicated EBU project team. The groups will analyze the big issues facing radio, television and multimedia, and hopefully come up with new ideas on PSM (Public Service Media), best practices, and recommendations.

The inter-related areas of focus will include expectations and attitudes towards the media, programming and competition, public and political support, funding, governance and the role of the EBU itself. Funding will be a particularly contentious and difficult area over the next 10 years, since revenues for most European public service broadcasters come through a combination of advertising and income from license fees, both of which are being squeezed at the moment. In France, the government is set to reverse a ban on peak time advertising imposed ill advisedly on the state broadcaster France Televisions in 2009 by the last administration under Nicolas Sarkozy.