Two new reports from the EBU’s Media Intelligence Service (MIS) explore the funding of public service media across Europe.
Funding of Public Service Media 2017 shows that public service broadcasters’ income continues to decline in real terms year-on-year.
Although the report shows a nominal growth of 2.2% over the last four years, in real terms that equates to a 2.8% drop. Over a third of PSM organisations have faced cuts totalling 563 million euros in the same period.
Besides facing a constant erosion of their revenues, public broadcasters throughout Europe are facing significant pressure to allocate a proportion of their public income (public funds & licence fee) to other market players. Proponents of ‘contestable funding’ say this would result in a more vibrant and diverse national media environment.
However a brand new report from the EBU: Contestable Funding for Public Service Content, shows that contestable funding threatens PSM funding by top-slicing licence fee revenues. Furthermore, it undermines the concept of public service by reducing it to non-commercially viable content.
Using case studies from New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the report gives Members the figures, analysis and arguments to understand the issue and prepare for it.
Head of MIS Roberto Suárez Candel said: “Calls for PSM's public funding to be distributed more widely to commercial operators somewhat miss the point. PSM funding does not disappear or remain in the pockets of employees, it helps fund a diverse network of suppliers."
“In fact, in 2016, PSM invested over 18 billion Euros in content, having a huge impact on the European audiovisual production sector as a whole and providing a major contribution to society.
“We must ask if the public policy objectives of contestable funding could be achieved differently while preserving the autonomy of PSM and maintaining the vital link between citizens and their public service broadcasters.”