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Public Service Media in 2050

In 2050, the dual media system – the availability of both public and commercial media - will continue to offer optimal value for citizens. Public Service Media (PSM) will exist independent of any technological changes that have taken place between now and 2050, evolving alongside and at times driving technological change in the media sector: technology is merely the way in which public service media fulfil their part of the social contract between the state and the people.

PSM express this role through the provision of media based on values and a contribution to cultural identity, education and informed citizenship. This lies at least partly outside the market system in terms of its scope. The core values which drive PSM and ensure its contribution to society will remain relevant in the long term future.  

  • PSM output builds social capital including plurality through quality content which contributes both to democratic and cultural diversity and ensures social inclusiveness through universal provision of its services. Media cannot be perceived, nor regulated, like a commodity. 
  • Being as independent from government and market forces as possible, PSM have a specific role in the media landscape and subsequently a specific approach: they openly discuss their mistakes; they offer content for other types of media (e.g. newspapers in France and in other countries); and invest in under-serviced parts of the media value-chain such as investigative journalism.  In other words, they will continue setting out quality standards for the media sector as a whole.
  • The profusion of media content linked to social networks, user-generated content and new services implies that PSM’s role as reference point, a guide and as an identifier of priorities in information management will become all the more important.
  • Having fulfilled its mission over many years in relation to mass audiences, one challenge for PSM is to build strong links with communities and individual citizens as stakeholders by 2050. Reinforcing the “brand” of PSM will in this regard be of high importance, as well as overcoming the perceived difference between “old” and “new” media which does not reflect the crucial contribution of PSM to new media offers, services and content.

PSM will continue to be relevant for citizens and retain their trust. Individual states and languages will still be key features of European media in 2050, but even without nation states, a mission for public service would still remain in Europe because there is a “social contract” between PSM and their audiences which is ultimately linked to a community.

The public service media wish list for 2050 would include the possibility to work more together with commercial media companies on a collaborative basis, for instance on news coverage, if news provision - including investigative journalism - remains difficult to fund.

In order for their services to be relevant in the future, PSM services should be present and prominent on all platforms, broadband and broadcast, particularly given the role of network operators in shaping promotion of aggregated services over new media platforms. The markets for content and the markets for distribution should be clearly differentiated: operators will still face a conflict of interest when delivering 3rd party content services alongside their own services.

Certainty as regards access to broadband networks for media delivery will be essential for the future of PSM and for maintaining the capacity to broadcast media. Europe should in this regard invest more in networks and put more effort into managing its own traffic and develop solutions for the distribution and packaging of content.


Source: views of a group of PSM organisations

AWB 05/11/12 – V1.1

JL 05/12/12 – V1.2

Consumer in Control
• Lot of choice, but a lot of poor content
• Loss of choice and transparency imply need for strong brands, references, trust, plus social networking and friends
• Great choice of content but lack of orientation
• Big Data – privacy challenges and narrowcasting/profiling
• Everyone will be a low cost TV
• Navigation is the new battlefield of gatekeepers/search engines – What is "free choice"?
• Content discovery, how to find content under time and laziness constraints? Behavioural economics.
• Anytime, Anyhow, Anyplace, Anywhere. But I will have to pay and I will be lost
• Less shared knowledge and experience among social groups and generations due to fast changes in technologies
Loss of social reference
• Risk of lack of access to future media. Costs of media and costs to get media
• Institutional lag, focus loss
• Lack of relation to the citizens
• Lack of trust from citizens or customers
• Loss of public space
• Decline of quality and independent journalism
• Deskilling of labour market due to institutional constraints and race to bottom
• Lack of markets investing in local content, implying less local, original content. Lot of content but not necessarily good content
• Cultural uniformisation
Content divide and new business models
• High quality original content only accessible for those able/willing to pay
• Media not being able to renew themselves
• Limited access to free air content
• New intermediaries, technology driven, not content driven
• End of intermediary role of broadcasters
• Will I have to pay for content or for access?
• What am I prepared to pay for?
• Proprietary tribes, globalised, vertically integrated, limited content offer from a few giants, beyond regulatory reach
• Shift in cultural innovation and talent to other part of the world


Consumer in control
• I choose what I want anywhere, anytime, anything
• Accessing legal content across borders
• Wider range consumption possibilities, micro-pay
• More and better choice of content that are easy to access
• I've got the power
• More access to content from other parts of the world
• I make my own media world, based on my personal selection
• Personal and social interface facilitating access to relevant media
• Usability improves. Transparency and media markets degrade
• Greater ease of use and better user design
• Better & Easier & More: Innovation in  media services and content; in network access; in devices and platforms
Future Networks
• Superfast high speed connectivity providing access to video content. Globalisation of players; increased global competition
• Connecting with the audience in multiplatform environment
• Superfast wireless connected devices and equipment. Everybody's home becomes a hotspot, offering access to everything, simple to use
Richer media experience
• Augmented reality
• Convergence
• Total immersion in content, end of usual devices
• 3D and other technology developments
• Hologram video technology
Content divide and new business models
• Totally new business models
• Framework value chain evolution



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