Public-Interest Broadcasting: A New Approach

Richard Eyre

in Television Policy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748617173
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671113 | DOI:
Public-Interest Broadcasting: A New Approach

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In this lecture, the author, former chief executive at ITV, predicts the imminent demise of public service television in Britain for three reasons. First, public service broadcasting relies on regulators who are increasingly overwhelmed by the expansive sources of broadcast information: this will result in inequities. Second, it relies on an active broadcaster and a passive viewer, but ‘at the end of a tiring day viewers don't always choose what's good for them’. Third, public service broadcasting lacks any agreed definition. The author insists that public service broadcasting must give way to public interest broadcasting, which will provide salvation for the BBC. ITV must be a public interest broadcaster if it is to draw large audiences. So must the BBC, S4C, Channel 4, and Channel 5. The difference between public-interest broadcasting at the BBC and ITV is that the former must try to achieve maximum weekly reach while commercial common sense will sustain an ITV that is unequivocally in the public interest by generating diverse and high-quality television programming.

Keywords: BBC; public service broadcasting; public interest broadcasting; ITV; television programming; Britain

Chapter.  3781 words. 

Subjects: Television

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