Challenges for Public Service Television

The project Challenges for Public Service Television in Spain towards the EU Digital Single Market: Multi-Screen Strategies, Innovation, and Renewal of Public Service Mandates is an initiative developed by the Localcom group within the framework of the State Program of Research, Development and Innovation Oriented to the Challenges of Society, financed by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.

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SUMMARY

The full functioning of a Single Digital Market is one of the major objectives of the European Union in the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy. Its implementation affects all economic sectors, including public television. The deployment of digital technology in the television sector has some singularities that require detailed analysis. The increasing availability of broadband has made possible the convergence of television and the Internet in a new multi-screen scenario where users can access video contents anytime and anywhere through several connected devices.

Given this reality, public service television strives to attract and keep their audiences with new platforms and digital applications, to strengthen engagement with their viewers and differentiate themselves from other channels, through the set of institutional values. The EU has set clear guidelines about the development of the single digital market and the management of the radio spectrum, but the design and definition of the public service is under the competence of the Member States. In the absence of a common policy in this field, beyond maintaining the importance of the public service mandate, the new multi-screen landscape raises many questions about how to keep the vitality and relevance of public television in the new digital media ecosystem. Besides, new situations of complexity will appear towards 2020, by the liberalization of the band of the 700Mhz and the deployment of the 5G technology. Regulatory and technological circumstances will restrict the space for digital terrestrial television and will favor the transmission of the quality video signals.

In this scenario, the strategies of innovation and adaptation of the public television to a multi-screen ecosystem, where different devices of visualization and interaction come together, as well as the need to renew the mandate of public service, are priority subjects for European researchers. For the Spanish case, all these issues should be placed on the top of the list for public television at the national, regional and local level.

PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT

This research project aims to contribute from an academic perspective to set the challenges for public service television at the top of the public agenda. This proposal pursues the following specific objectives:

1) To select, analyze and evaluate, from a comparative perspective, the European strategies deployed by public television companies to adapt to the multi-screen scenario in the context of the implementation of the EU digital single market;

2) Elaborate a model of indicators, based on the criteria of availability, uses, and context, to measure and diagnose the adaptation of public media to the new digital environment;

3) Apply the model mentioned above to the Spanish case, based on a sample of public channels that broadcast in the following communicative spaces: national, regional and local;

4) Create a mapping of platforms, interaction dynamics and digital resources of public television at national, regional and local levels, to evaluate and compare their adaptation to the multi-screen scenario;

5) Propose an agenda of policy initiatives that ensure the continuity of public service principles in the multichannel and multiplatform landscape with diversity of contents.

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