Public service broadcasting

IRIS Plus 2010-4: Public Service Media: Money for Content

Author: Christian M. Bron, Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels

Published: 01/06/2010

There have been many public statements on the funding of public service broadcasting and the expectations associated with it. As far as the European Union is concerned, mention might be made of the Communication from the Commission of 27 October 2009 on the application of state aid rules to public service broadcasting (OJ C 257, pp. 1–14) or in the case of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers’ reply of 21 April 2010 welcoming the Parliamentary Assembly’s Recommendation 1878 (2009) on the funding of public service broadcasting.

However familiar we think we are with the issue of funding public service broadcasting, the outcome of the present discussion seems uncertain as far as one important aspect is concerned: namely the scope of the public media services to be funded. The dispute has long ceased to be only about the funding of public television services and has been extended in particular to the fi nancing of other audiovisual media services in the public interest. The issue involved is accordingly the funding of a key area discussed in the recently published green paper “Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries” (COM(2010) 183/3). It is about the funding of the new media, which the green paper defi nes as part of this cultural and creative industry. One question that arises – but is not mentioned by the green paper – is how much of this part of the cultural and creative industry is to receive money from public funds and therefore withdrawn from the free market.

The funding of media services to fulfi l the public service remit is and will remain an absorbing and many-sided subject. Reading this IRIS plus will put you right at the heart of the ongoing discussion.