This is a public service announcement - is anyone listening?

Posted by pt91 at Oct 15, 2012 11:53 AM |
Media figures debate future of public service broadcasting at University of Leicester event

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 15 October 2012

Debate at 6pm on Wednesday 24 October 2012 at Savoy Place, London, WC2R 0BL. Click here to book a place.

Media industry insiders and experts will debate whether public service broadcasting can survive the digital era at an event organised by the University of Leicester.

What is the Future of Public Service Broadcasting will be a live, Question Time-styled debate held at Savoy Place, London, on Wednesday October 24.

The debate will focus on the value of public service broadcasting, how it has responded to technological developments in the media and what difficulties it will face in the future. The audience will also have the chance to put their questions to the panel.

The panel will include Dawn Airey, President of CLT-UFA UK TV, part of Europe’s leading entertainment network the RTL Group, and formerly Chief Executive at Channel 5, David Wheeldon, Director of Policy & Public Affairs, BSkyB, Peter Preston, media columnist for the Guardian and Observer and former Guardian editor, and Professor Peter Lunt, of the University of Leicester’s Department of Media and Communication.

Professor Peter Lunt said: “Periodically the death of public service broadcasting is announced – usually prematurely. The longer historical view can be read as a decline – from monopoly, through duopoly to diversification, to questions of the continuing relevance of public service broadcasting in the digital, new media age. But is this a decline? Particularly in the UK where a diversity of public service broadcasters continue to adapt and survive alongside the proliferation of digital channels and online content? Does it even make sense, in the contemporary global media system, to yearn for a golden age of television and radio, when the BBC was a monopoly broadcaster?

“The BBC has proved adept (if sometimes slow) at change – most recently in its engagement with digital TV, BBC online and the iPlayer – rather than being left behind by the digital revolution it seems to be in the forefront, even a leader in digital broadcasting and online content.

“Yet there have been fundamental changes in the BBC – in its governance, in its public purposes and in the content that it delivers. Each of these changes poses important questions. Have the changes in the charter led to a more transparent, accountable organisation that encourages public engagement and deliberation? Has the shift from traditional public service values to public value testing and the management of public value helped or hindered the cause of public service broadcasting? In content, should public service broadcasters maintain a presence – even in the development of new genres, particularly in popular culture genres of reality TV – or does this compromise public value leading to a dumbing down of culture and society?

“And the public service broadcasting system is no longer just about the BBC – Channels 4 and 5 have changed the meaning and approach of what is now a public service broadcasting system. And this is exacerbated by the increasing availability of knowledge and opinion online – so that the boundary of where content of public value is produced is no longer at the doors of the BBC. Should we now, in consequence, be talking of public service content rather than public service broadcasters? And can we imagine a future in which public service broadcasters disappear and a proliferation of providers of public service content replace them?

“Intriguingly, despite these changes and the many questions that they raise, public service broadcasting remains incredibly popular with the British public – the latest triumphant coverage of the Olympics demonstrated not just that public service broadcasting can still deliver reporting of events on a grand scale, but can do so in a way that is innovative, stimulating and popular. It is still at the centre of public life and retains the confidence and support of a great diversity of viewers as well as sustaining culture, providing high quality news and information and supporting education.”

The event is hosted by Leicester Exchanges, the University’s online debate platform, and follows on from successful live events covering the comprehensive school education model and the future of the Euro.

It will take place on Wednesday 24 October 2012 at Savoy Place, London, WC2R 0BL. There will be refreshments available from 5.30pm and the debate begins at 6.00pm. A drinks reception will follow.

The event is free and open to the public, although booking is essential. To book a place, please visit:


For more information about the event, please contact: Vic Russell on 0116 223 1244 or at:

Professor Peter Lunt can be contacted on 0116 252 2348 or at:

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