Public service media (PSM) are under increasing pressure to deliver more services despite diminishing resources.
The EBU’s Media Intelligence Service (MIS) has just published the latest edition of its flagship report on PSM funding, revealing that total income for PSM has decreased by 3.3% in real terms over the last five years.
‘Funding of PSM 2016’ shows that the growth of most PSM revenue has been so low that it stands below inflation. 25 EBU Members have also seen their budgets cut in concrete terms over the last five years, wiping a total of EUR 1.78 billion from their income.
MIS Head Roberto Suárez Candel says: “PSM across Europe are not always properly funded and many continue to see their revenues being continuously eroded.”
Despite the financial constraints, PSM continue to expand their offer to adapt to new media consumption habits and reach as many citizens as possible. 74 new audiovisual services were launched by EBU Members in 2015 and 97% of Members now have a free catch-up video service.
Suárez continues: “The current situation is not sustainable. If PSM are not well equipped to deliver quality and value to citizens, their relevance and future are uncertain.”
PSM continue to be a vital component of the European audiovisual industry. PSM income accounts for almost 30% of the industry’s revenue. Furthermore, public service broadcasters are by far the biggest driver of the European production sector with an annual expenditure of EUR 18 billion – significantly more than their commercial counterparts.
The funding of PSM continues to be the subject of heated debate. However, Suárez concludes: “We need to create a new narrative for PSM. Rather than seeing PSM as a cost to citizens, it needs to be portrayed as an investment that benefits the entire society.
“Thanks to the values that guide PSM, each euro invested in their work delivers major benefits to the economic, cultural, educational, technological and democratic wellbeing of society.”
Funding of PSM 2016 provides detailed insights into the funding of 63 EBU PSM organizations across 45 markets, including national case studies highlighting the differing realities from market to market. An in-depth analysis of the activities of European commercial broadcasters and international competitors in the audiovisual market demonstrates the increasing challenge faced by public service broadcasters, and confirms that PSM neither distort the broadcasting market nor jeopardize the viability of commercial business models.
EBU Members can download the report, along with a collection of additional charts, maps and tables here.
A public version and summary infographic are also available.