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Old Ideas Meet New Technologies: Will Digitalisation Save Public Service Broadcasting (Ideals) from Commercial Death?



Digitalisation seems to have reached enough momentum to dominate discussions regarding the state and future of public service broadcasting (PSB) in recent years. Starting from a background overview of the main developments in PSB (policy, structure and content) since its inception, the article analyses current debates regarding the future of PSB. The most heard stakeholders, the dominant positions, discourses and arguments regarding the position of PSB in the ‘new’ digital, interactive, personalised media future are identified. Next, and crucially, this article intends to lay bare the technological determinism implicit in much of this debate and the implications for the way in which the discussion is being held. Taking instead a social constructivist point of view, the article concludes with an analysis of the way in which the main goals of access, universality and quality can be reinterpreted in the light PSB's position in a changing society.