Public potential of digital media.

[ image courtesy of NYC Mother Pie / Flickr ]

In 2005 Ofcom published a report detailing their “recommendations for maintaining and strengthening the quality of PSB [public service broadcasting, akin to public broadcasters in the US] against a backdrop of rapid change in broadcasting.”

Last month, they released a new report that evaluates the media landscape at a more micro level; it asks this question: Do we need a new position/division/etc. to oversee the commissioning & implementation of non-broadcast public service content? The title of the report is quite descriptive: “A new approach to public service content in the digital media age.” Subtitled: “The potential role of the Public Service Publisher [PSP].”

The intial rough sketch envisions the PSP as:

  • a commissioner of content
  • an advocate for a significantly different rights model for conent more in line with new media
  • non-commercial
  • facilitator of the process of distribution via partnering with other organizations

The main message of this 57 page paper is that regardless of what form the PSP takes, its role is critical to the viability of the PSBs. Whether it is an independent deparment, or other staffed positions, or a hybrid thereof, its existence “…suggests the PSP could offer a rich new media experience for users.” It goes on to highlight these items that would augment the traditional broadcast media experience:

  • allow audiences to re-use content as well as view it
  • place user participation at the heart of much of the content
  • include high-quality audio and video content developed for new media distribution and use rather than traditional broadcasting
  • drive community activity, including location-sensitive content and the ability to collaborate to create new material

Next steps call for discussion on the matter, and a call for input to determine how the PSP should look and function.

Not only are they acknowledging that new media is critical to PSB survival, but they are calling them out on the fact that their traditional methods will likely not cut it in this new media ecosystem. This chart, from page 51 makes this very clear:

[ click to enlarge ]

Next steps call for discussion on the matter, and a call for input to determine how the PSP should look.

Stay tuned for more in March 2007.

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