- 1 Whitepaper on the Future of Public Media
- 2 OUTLINE
- 3 KEY NOTES TO INTEGRATE:
- 4 I. INTRODUCTION
- 5 II. FUTURES
- 6 III. MAPS
- 7 IV. CONCLUSIONS
- 7.1 PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC NEW MEDIA
- 7.2 Cross-Cutting themes
- 7.3 Strategies
- 8 APPENDICES
- 9 BIBLIOGRAPHY
- 10 Whitepaper Notes
Whitepaper on the Future of Public Media
This is a space for collaborative writing and editing of a whitepaper on the Future of Public Media.
The audience includes: all relevant stakeholders interested in the multiple intersections of media and democracy, and better connecting media and democracy in the future.
We hope to present this Whitepaper to the new Corporation for Public Broadcasting committee on new media that will convene for the first time in the summer of 2008. Contributors so far: Ernest Wilson, Sasha Costanza-Chock, Wally Baer, Jessica Clark, Persephone Miel, Russ Newman, Jon Taplin.
A Note on Collaboration Tools
New discussion group on Beyond Broadcast social network: http://beyondbroadcast.ning.com/group/publicmediawhitepaper
We began by using googledocs for drafting: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcr23n54_37fd9w7
But we are shifting everything to this public wiki: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/mediarepublicforum/WhitePaper.
We encourage people to help us gather relevant material from around the web using this shared tag: public.media. An example: http://del.icio.us/tag/public.media
There is also an existing 'Future of Public Media' wiki set up by center for social media, please review: http://futureofpublicmedia.wikispaces.com/
Title: (placeholder: The Future of Public Media)
Abstract: One paragraph summary goes here.
Executive Summary summarize whitepaper and key recommendations in just a few pages. To do once whitepaper is finished.
I. Introduction overview, lays out broad contours of the field and what the whitepaper will do. Describes the role of public media in a renewed American democracy. Includes short section on history and goals of public media (Wally Baer will do the history section.) Identify the stakeholders: traditional pubcasters like pbs, npr; traditional partners like universities, school districts; other elements of public media system like libraries, public access cable. Also identify potential for new partners active in the new media space. Raise the question: can traditional public broadcasting really make the transition to the new media space (public service media)? What would it take to make this transition?
II. Futures Here we do a future mapping exercise with the two axes being: public/private, vertical/horizontal. This gets us four quadrants of potential media ecology futures to explore, public vertical (BBCscene), public horizontal (Participation Nation), private vertical (Fox rules), private horizontal (YouTubiverse). Describe the main features of each quadrant in a short paragraph. What would it look like, how will we know which world we're in, and what would be the consequences for our goals.
III. Maps Here we describe and map the current media ecology w/the various players and sectors. (Jessica?) Should include a section on Innovation at the edges: examples of best practice in new media, where we describe some of the good initiatives that are already underway in the public media sector, or those that have been proposed but not moving forward yet. This lays out what is happening in the 'horizontal/public' sector of our grid.
IV. Conclusions Here we summarize and suggest
- A. Principles for Public New Media
- B. Cross cutting factors
- C. Strategy for implementation.
- One-pagers (condensed versions of principles and recommendations)
- Checklists (checklists for review of applications / sites / public media experiments)
- Other appendices
Bibliography Or works cited.
KEY NOTES TO INTEGRATE:
rework the text to include these. reiterate the main points throughout.
JT suggests we add a section on Funding. EW suggests we try to answer these questions:
- Should public broadcasting make the transition to âpublic service mediaâ?
- What is âPSMâ?
- What is the difference between public broadcasting and PSM?
- What contribution can PSM make to contemporary American democracy? In a Digital Environment? (cd meet more effectively the traditional goals of public broadcasting/and become be a main portal thru which American citizens learn how to be âdigital citizens.â To learn the meaning of digital literacy; to learn new capabilities. To help redefine the meaning of citizenship in this ageâ¦)
- What would a transition from PB to PSM look like?
- If a transition is desirable, what would the end-state look like?
- If a transition is desirable, what examples do we have of public stations that are already making the transition successfully? What examples of attempts but failures? What are the three reasons for success? Failure??
What is public service media?
- A PSM station shd operate across multiple platforms.
- A PSM should be different from a non-PSM in the way it uses the platform and esp in its relations to its communities.
- It means redefining how reporters report, editors edit; it changes the role of editors, the role of commentators; and even the role of the audience.
Hereâs the great irony: the power and leverage of the new Digital Media are tailor-made to meet the historical purposes and needs of PB even more than it meets the needs of commercial enterprises and commercial audiences. Yet PBâers are adopting these new capabilities more slowly than commercial broadcasting
Here are the main features of the Digital Media:
- User Generated Content
- Creates new on-line communities
- Convergence (&concentration)
- Continual technological change.
Here are the traditional legislative goals of public broadcasting
- Serving the underserved
- Advancing education
- Public service
- Creating non-commercial public âspaceâ.
- Balance and objectivity
By Democracy we mean:
- Competition (?)
- Rights & Responsibilities
- Rule of Law
Insert para re: the crisis of democracy and the role of the media in this crisis, the potential positive effects of public media for the revitalization and renewal of democracy both in America and abroad.
The end of the first decade of the 21st century is a time of radical transformation in local, regional, and global communication ecologies. In the commercial media sector, the traditional dominance of the US based cultural industries has on the one hand been extended through greater transnational penetration of distribution networks, while at the same time US cultural producers are challenged by the emergence of powerful competing regional cultural industries in India, China, South Korea, Nigeria, Brazil, and elsewhere. Simultaneously, the advance and diffusion of networked Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has radically transformed the media landscape both domestically and abroad. Commercial broadcast television, both entertainment and news, is losing viewership and advertising revenue as audiences fragment across the multichannel cable and satellite universe as well as the Net. Newspapers, which have served as the main employers of journalists and the primary producers of original investigative reporting for the last century, are in the midst of a crisis as both subscriptions and advertising revenue, especially classifieds, continue their steady decline.
Public media in the US, built on the broadcasting model (broadcast television and radio), faces challenges similar to those of commercial broadcasters: declining viewership and audience fragmentation, rapid technological change, shifting political climate.While National Public Radio (NPR) has been able to buck this trend and build a larger audience for its signature shows (Morning Edition and All Things Considered), PBS has seen its television audience decline significantly. Like commercial broadcasters, public media in the US must transform to engage the new communication environment of many-to-many communication, user generated content, audience participation, collaborative production and filtering, and peer-to-peer distribution. Younger people, especially, live in a media world centered on participatory communication platforms like MySpace, YouTube, and Wikipedia. At the same time, already marginalized groups of people face the threat of further marginalization when they lack access to the infrastructure, tools, and skills of the digital economy, including digital media. In short, like commercial broadcasters, if public media does not transform, it is in danger of becoming irrelevant, but with the added weight that a next generation public media system must be linked to successful ICT access and education policies in order to achieve its goals.
However, while there is danger, there is also great possibility. The widespread diffusion of the tools and skills of media production presents an opportunity for the public media system to engage with publics in ways never before possible. Public broadcasting continues to enjoy a level of trust unmatched by any of the commercial broadcasters. In an environment of information overload, this trusted status is one of the most crucial elements sought by online content providers. If leveraged correctly, this trust will help the public media system in the US undergo the transition to the new media ecology and strike the difficult balance between content producer, filter, and participatory platform for production and distribution. What's more, this is not uncharted territory. Public media can (and must) learn from and build on the successes and mistakes of other media firms, both 'new' media organizations that were born in the networked world of participatory content production and filtering practices, and 'old' media that are successfully making the transition. In addition Public media analysts must look to the differences in the Radio and TV production and distribution models in the U.S. that are producing such variant outcomes.
For example, one place for US public broadcasters to look is the UK, where the BBC is testing models of ânetworked journalismâ that include user generated content as well as user participation in setting news agendas, while Ofcom (the UK regulator) is holding public hearings on how new technologies and platforms can deliver public media content. Rethinking public media in the US should also draw from the lessons of both the commercial sector, including the so-called Web 2.0 firms, as well as nonprofit platforms built on Free and Open Source Software that are some of the most popular information sources today (like Wikipedia) or that contain some of the most interesting and valuable media resources (like Archive.org). It will also be key to figure out the link to locally grounded, face to face, geographic communities. For example, Wikinews is about to launch a pilot program (funded by the Knight Foundation) to create community media centers where community members learn media production skills for the online environment. Along these lines, the transformation of Public Access TV will also be part of the challenge, as cable companies seek to shift franchising agreements away from cities to the state or even federal level. Some Public Access stations, like Denver Open Media, have already developed radically innovative new models for participation and distribution (www.denveropenmedia.org). There is also an important opportunity to shift the balance of copyright back towards the public by changing the way publicly funded media content is licensed, for example through Creative Commons licensing.
move this up? and expand: Identify the stakeholders: traditional pubcasters like pbs, npr; traditional partners like universities, school districts; other elements of public media system like libraries, public access cable. Also identify potential for new partners active in the new media space.
Presently the U.S. Public Media system has three main centers of power: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR). CPB acts as the national funding arm for public media and draws its budget each year from a congressional appropriation. CPB has been subject to political pressures from Congress and is regularly threatened with a total cut-off of funding. NPR, while still accessing some funds from CPB has a major grant from the Kroc estate which allows it a measure of political and financial independence not shared by PBS. In addition, NPR has created a production system in which the most popular national shows (Morning Edition & All Things Considered) are produced by a central organization and distributed nationally to local NPR stations who generally play them at similar morning and afternoon "drive-time" slots. In contrast to NPR, PBS has no independent source of endowment and so is dependent on CPB for much of its financing. In addition, the production system at PBS is completely decentralized and there is no good system for collaborative content sharing and scheduling between local affiliates. Local stations produce different series and then hope the rest of the stations carry them. Even the most famous national shows like "Frontline" have a hard time getting all stations to carry the show at the same time. The results of these two dissimilar production models can be seen in the audience results. The NPR audience has grown while that of PBS has shrunk.
We must raises the question: can traditional public broadcasting institutions, including the CPB, NPR, and PBS, really make the transition to the new media space (public service media)? If so, what would it take to make this transition?
In an attempt to answer these crucial questions, this white paper on the future of public media deals with the history and current state of public media in the US, with attention to international developments, current proposals for public media innovation in the new media landscape, and an examination of already existing 'new public media' pilot projects. We also propose a set of principles for public media / public service media, drawn from existing examples. We map out potential future scenarios, weigh the value of each, and suggest strategies for how to reach the best outcomes.
Here we do a future mapping exercise with the two axes being: public/private, vertical/horizontal. This gets us four quadrants of potential media ecology futures to explore, public vertical (BBCscene), public horizontal (Participation Nation), private vertical (Fox rules), private horizontal (YouTubiverse). This section describes the implications of each scenario, the perceived trend (where we think we are heading), which should we hope for, and how do we get there.
paragraph here: describe, benefits, disadvantages, likelihood?
In this scenario, (private/horizontal) commercial players continue to completely dominate the new media space. Commercial broadcasters either go cross-platform and incorporate greater amounts of user generated content; some fall by the wayside while others prosper. However, the public media fails to make the transition and the numbers of public broadcast viewers and listeners shrinks, ages, and all but disappears. Faced with a complete lack of interest from a changing public that was abandoned by pubcasters trying desperately to cling to their old broadcast model, ultimately, Congress eliminates the CPB, and PBS and NPR disappear or shrink to become tiny niche providers. The net still has good content, but it is marginalized. All content passes through commercial platforms that profit from ads and user information without paying most producers, and public interest content is available but only sought out by a small minority. There is no major player pushing challenging content, and new media that reflects the public interest ends up buried deep within mountains of stupid pet tricks, scantily clad beach babes, and reposted music videos. What's more, no real action is taken to address digital access and digital literacy inequalities, so most content continues to be produced by, and reflect the wordview of, the small minority of (largely white, male, middle class) users with always-on high speed connectivity, the latest recording equipment, high power computers, and lots of leisure time.
paragraph here: describe, benefits, disadvantages, likelihood?
In this future quadrant (private / vertical), the heyday of the user-generated net during the first decade of the new millenium is looked back upon as a quirky, sometimes fun, but ultimately temporary experiment. The spread of fiber to the home and ultrabroadband wifi paved the way for the tranformation of the 'Net into something that looks a lot like 1990s cable television, only now there are literally thousands of channels... all of them owned and programmed by 2 giant multinational media companies, ChinaStar and FoxNet, who only serve streaming content to each individual consumer based on a detailed data profile of their tastes. All visible objects in video programs are product placements, and all are one-click links to consumer purchase - for the ever shrinking portion of the population that has disposable income. Pubcasters disappeared after a year long all-channel media assault by FoxNet that convinced the American public that their tax dollars would be better spend on a subsidy to reduce the cost of Fox Tactile TV brainsets. Consumerist values rule everything with no counterbalancing force, dialogue between opposing viewpoints is a quaint and distant fiction, and no community that isn't a good target market appears on more than one of the 100,000 channels.
paragraph here: describe, benefits, disadvantages, likelihood?
In this scenario (public / vertical), spectrum auctions and a massive windfall donation by a private philanthropist generate a trillion dollar trust fund to support the CPB, PBS, and NPR in perpetuity. The now-flush pubcasters slowly come to dominate ratings in nearly every broadcast channel with high quality content produced by crack teams of professionals, many of them hired away from the commercial sector. They also become more transnational in scope, with reporters and production teams on the ground in nearly every country. American pubcasters become the most trusted information brand worldwide. However, since they are a top-down operation run by an old boys network, they tend to fail in their efforts to include and speak to demographics beyond the white, middle class, middle aged elites. In other words, they serve an affluent minority exceedingly well, but fail to challenge old forms of inequality and broaden the embrace of strong democracy. Most people in the USA, and in the world, continue to be, and feel, excluded from the media landscape, and this contributes to simmering anger, resentment, failure to engage in real dialogue and consensus building, and sometimes to violent conflict.
paragraph here: describe, benefits, disadvantages, likelihood?
In this scenario (public / horizontal), the public media system has evolved into a rich, cross platform ecology where the best user generated content bubbles up from the margins to city, state, or national distribution, while high production value, professionally produced content is pushed out across broadcast, net distribution, and download for mobile devices. All of this content is licensed under open licenses and available for the audience and other producers to remix, critique, and share again. Libraries, schools, universities, public access stations, and low power FM stations have all become new media training and production hubs where people from all backgrounds learn digital media literacy skills - both analysis and production - from well-trained new media teachers who are paid a decent (living) wage and have fanned out across the nation under the CPB's 'public media corps' program. All of this activity is supported by a diverse range of sources, including a significant trust fund, viewer contributions (usually sent in quickly and easily via text message from mobile phones), cable franchise fees, and a number of other sources. The public media system has 'must carry' arrangements with major commercial providers across all platforms, including a number of streaming public audio and video channels on cable, satellite TV and radio, and mobile devices. All of this public media activity supports and strengthens a renewed vitality in American democracy, as historically marginalized communities find new voice and visibility and civic engagement soars. The international wing of the public media corps trains a new generation of developing country media producers, and the longstanding invisibility of the global South in the American mediascape is replaced by the flowering of high quality, locally produced content that bubbles up into national and international distribution. The next generation's understanding of global problems and sense of themselves as citizens of the world is accordingly strengthened.
Here we describe and map the current media ecology w/the various players and sectors. (Jessica?)
Should include a section on: Innovation at the edges: examples of best practice in new media, where we describe some of the good initiatives that are already underway in the public media sector, or those that have been proposed but not moving forward yet. This lays out what is happening in the 'horizontal/public' sector of our grid.
Innovation at the Edges: Best practices in public media
- Denver open access
- more examples
- etc. see notes section WhitePaperNotes
PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC NEW MEDIA
EW: I would suggest that you foreshadow some of these Big Themes earlier in the White Paper. Per my inserts above, I think there are 5 or 6 Big Things that shd be drawn out early, and then repeated often. I believe they shd be clear to non-expert readers. To those not in the digerati, terms like âHorizontalâ, âOpenâ, etc. may seem less intuitively obvious than the others above - interactive, UGC, converged, etc. Also, I hope we can avoid sounding too... technical... ultimately these come down to questions, IMHO, of potentials for leadership, building a common vision and political platform, constituency building, etc. The fine points of the policy and tech will not be what makes or breaks the pub media transition.
1. Participatory / Bottom-up / Horizontal / Distributed / 'Viewer/Listener/User Generated'
(Distributed, Bottom-up). The great thing about new media is that the tools of production are radically decentralized; people all over the country are now producing a torrent of amazing stuff with consumer grade videocams and home computers. The challenge is for CPB to find good mechanism to create a 'pipeline' where the best content filters up, meaning receives broader distribution cross platform. The ideal model would leverage the bottom-up, upload your own video web site which would be administered by a local editorial board in each city/area, with good representation of the community (maybe elected?) selects a combination of most popular (most views/best rated) content, with editors discretion to promote non-popular but socially important content, and these 'best of' selects get aired on the local PBS TV affiliate. The very best of the content would be bumped up to national distribution.At each level,community input, by online voting procedures, would be included in the rating process. There are some existing models for this, although none has been fully resourced/implemented well. Current TV has elements, as does Indymedia.
2. Free and Open
To successfully make the transition to the new media space, public media should be as free and open as possible. This applies to content, media format, and infrastructure:
- Content: freely viewable, freely downloadable, available for remix and reuse, preferably creative commons licensed.
- Format: open (nonproprietary) format.
- Infrastructure: based as much as possible on free/libre open source software (FLOSS).
3. Cross-platform / Converged / Multimodal
'New Media' doesn't just mean internet. The CPB should build the idea of cross platform media into whatever it does in this area, with an understanding that new platforms continue to evolve at an ever increasing rate. Internet, mobile phones, iPods, multiplayer games, virtual worlds, geolocative media... the CPB new media should recognize from the start a multimodal media universe and plan to support and strengthen media that promotes the goals of CPB regardless of platform(s) and cross platforms. Narratives and content elements in commercial media are increasingly reused and spread across several platforms, public media should do this too.
people in the US suffer severe access inequality to new media tools and skills along lines of race, class, gender, and geography. For one thing, we need much better data on communication access inequality. But we know enough to recognize that just making an 'open' publishing system ('anyone can post their media here') will reproduce the existing access inequality. So, there must be mechanisms to actively seek out and promote content producers who can represent and speak to the widest range of diversity of the American experience. Otherwise, the voices of new public media will be the same voices that dominate the old public media: middle class white dudes.
- 'public media corps' idea (paid digital media literacy/production teachers working in schools, libraries, community technology centers, universities, public access stations, lpfm stations, and so on across the country)
- real universal broadband as explicit public policy goal. essential infrastructure, like roads/water.
B. Best Practice
There are already great examples of how to integrate new media on the margins of public media system. Denver Open Access is a great example. (get at least 3 good examples). See WhitePaperNotes
This is way too wonky approach. make it clear and simple.
We need to figure out the best arrangement to allow public media content to get to the user across all platforms. Currently, one of the biggest challenges is to get public media onto all mobile devices. This can range from consensual agreements with the private sector to carry public media and provide it free of cost (for example, arrange with Verizon to carry public media video clips as a free content service for all video-enabled mobile phone subscribers), to a 'mobile must-carry:' if you want to be a wireless service provider, you have to carry public media content and make it a freely available 'channel' for your subscribers. It could be done city by city (like public access clauses in cable franchise agreements) or (more likely) at the state or federal level.
This gets complicated, in part the problem is solved if we can successfully get 'network neutrality' on mobile data service providers (the subscriber can then access 'whatever content they want'). In practice, though, the way the mobile providers are rolling out video is a walled garden model, with preselected available 'channels' at a top-level menu for the user. Public New Media needs to be in that top-level menu. Ideally this can be pitched as a 'win-win' to the service providers: they get free content to offer their subscribers, public media gets free distribution to mobile devices, and the public gets free access to public media via their mobile devices.
How do we get from here to there?
This is key. Develop this section further. One possibility is to discuss what each stakeholder can do.
what each stakeholder needs to do in order to contribute to the transition from pubcasting to PSM
- PBS needs to...
- Congress should... (Legislation? What's already in the works?)
- Local big producing stations should...
- Smaller pubcast stations need to find a way to...
- Public Access stations can...
- Libraries should...
- Schools and Universities...
- (New Media private sector firms? role to play?)
- Invite some group to create a âskunkworksâ to design a new PSM
- Convene a mixed team of NPR, PBS, local stations to discuss these issues
- Seek to rewrite the legislature
- Discuss with regulators, Capitol Hill
Other ways to move:
- Expert views: whitepapers
- Public views: participatory Carnegie Commission
- Focal points for public pressure? Example - CPB focal point: new media committee
Resourcing. What are the funding models we suggest?
- trust fund
- viewer/listener/participant contributions?
- prize funds
- ISPs / carriers pay?
- small tax on hardware (computers, tvs, lcds) pays?
- spectrum license fees/auction pays. can be local or nationwide (creates trust fund)
- cable franchise pays (public access cable model)
- backbone companies pay
- satellite cos pay
- mobile phone cos pay/mobile must carry public service media
- geolocal sponsorship (corner store pays)
Appendix: Public Digital Media website review checklist
- content freely available, or pay for content model?
- If ad revenues involved, is there revenue sharing? How does it work?
- open content licensing system?
- easy to embed content in other pages?
- easy to download content?
- download content in high-quality format for remix?
- will provider fight takedowns?
- anonymous publishing when necessary?
- role of the community:
- degree of editorial power?
- thought of as producers?
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