In the media ecology of networked communications, the value of the public service sector is pointedly questioned, strenuously challenged and increasingly uncertain. The Internet has thoroughly disrupted historic media market structures. Today’s media users value services as much or even more than content. EBU member organizations are the essential foundation for the public service orientation and consequent operations in today’s media ecology. These organizations and their responsible managers are deeply challenged by an ecology that is highly volatile, uncertain and unstable.
The need to assess the social impact of PSM is rooted in this general reorientation of media-society relations and tied to a comprehensive reorganization of media systems. This process is transformative because it requires a degree of change that is unparalleled in the history of public broadcasting, and at the same time requires commitment to principles that have defined this enterprise since the early 20th century. The challenge facing the sector and its representative institutions is captured in the title for these remarks: what value and which values? It’s only possible to move forward with a sure step if PSM remains committed to essential values that have legitimated this approach to media provision for decades.
But at the same time, managers must accommodate timely demands for institutional revitalization. The value the service delivers to the public, and the values it embodies, are undoubtedly critical success factors.