Public service broadcasting's continued rude health

by Chris Hanretty

Number of pages


For the past thirty years, the state’s role in funding broadcasting has been under attack. The rise of free market ideas and considerable scepticism regarding the role of the state and state-owned enterprises signalled a period of decreasing political support for public service broadcasting. The introduction of cable and satellite television and, subsequently, the advent of digital terrestrial television, have also contributed to claims that it is now experiencing a terminal decline.

This report gives an overview of the various ways in which public service broadcasting is structured and funded, and of the extent to which its output is distinctive, of high quality and capable of making a difference. This comparative perspective should help answer the question of whether public service broadcasting is in decline and assist policymakers in determining whether the objectives that they set for public service broadcasters are commonly shared, and provide some evidence of their feasibility.

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