Total income for public service media (PSM) across the EBU community dipped by 1.9% in 2013, intensifying a disturbing trend that has seen total PSM income fall by 8.7% in real value over 5 years.
The financial snapshot across wider Europe is a key finding of the annual ‘Funding of Public Service Media’ report produced by the EBU’s Media Intelligence Service (MIS).
While direct comparisons between countries are not always possible, the report’s international perspective provides Members with valuable data and detailed economic analysis to assist their advocacy and planning strategies.
MIS head Dr Roberto Suárez says the trend is of particular concern, appearing as it does after three years of slight recovery.
"The evidence highlights two main challenges for Members,” said Mr Suárez. “Firstly, they need to compensate for shrinking advertising revenues on the media market as a whole, which has led to a loss of 23.2 % of their commercial income since 2008. Secondly, and most worrying, they need to deal with the fact that they have become the target of national austerity measures."
The report confirms that EBU Members are straining to maintain the economic support of their governments, which Mr Suárez said had at times ‘overlooked the contribution PSM make to ensuring a healthy democracy through providing audiences with quality content.’
“The situation is of course very different across the EBU membership,” he said. “While PSM organizations in EU countries have altogether experienced a 10.2% reduction of their income in real value in the last five years, Members in non-EU countries have seen their revenues increase by 9% since 2008. This highlights the degree of maturity of the former and the expansion experienced by the latter.”
Mr Suárez said that despite these differences, a common fact across Europe is that PSM organizations cannot be accused of disrupting the market or competition.
“While EBU Members are experiencing economic difficulties, the top 12 European commercial media groups continue to see growth in their revenues. In 2013, their total revenue increased by 4.8%. Since 2008, despite the advertising crisis, it has grown by 8.6% (in real value, without the impact of inflation). As a result the gap in total income between the top 12 European commercial media groups and the 57 EBU Members included in this report has increased once more. In 2013, the commercial broadcasters earned 48.8% more than PSM. Considering that in 2008, the gap was 27.6%, there’s no doubt that PSM are not a threat to a healthy market, free competition and the development of commercial initiatives.“
The publication and its online extension with additional charts and datasets is available to EBU Members with a valid login to download via the Media Intelligence Portal.
Printed copies will be distributed to delegates attending the EBU's 73rd General Assembly. Each Member organisation will also receive a hard copy in the coming weeks by post.