Journal Article

Competition and public service broadcasting: stimulating creativity or servicing capital?

Simon Turner and Ana Lourenço

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 10, issue 3, pages 497-523
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online October 2011 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwr022
Competition and public service broadcasting: stimulating creativity or servicing capital?

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In UK public service broadcasting, recent regulatory change has increased the role of the private sector in television production, culminating in the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) introduction of ‘creative competition’ between in-house and independent television producers. Using the concept of ‘cognitive variety’, we focus on the increasing role of the independent sector as a source of creativity in the delivery of programming for the BBC. The paper shows that the intended benefit of introducing new competencies has been thwarted by, at the micro-level, a high level of cognitive proximity between in-house and external producers and, at the meso-level, a conflict in values between the BBC and the independent sector, with many of the larger producers responding to a commercial imperative that encourages creativity in profitable genres, but leaves gaps in other areas of provision. Tracing these meso-level institutional effects has implications for micro-level analyses of innovation, notably communities of practice theory.

Keywords: governance; innovation; organizational theory; public sector reforms; social networks; United Kingdom; L14 transactional relationships; contracts and reputation; networks; L22 firm organization and market structure; L23 organization of production

Journal Article.  10243 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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