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Regulation, Governance and Convergence in the Media

Peter Humphreys and Seamus Simpson

Media convergence is often propounded as inevitable and ongoing. Yet much of the governance of the media sector’s key parts has developed along discrete evolutionary paths, mostly incremental in character. This volume breaks new ground through exploring a diverse range of topics at the heart of the media convergence governance debate, such as next generation networks, spectrum, copyright and media subsidies. It shows how reluctance to accommodate non-market based policy solutions creates conflicts and problems resulting in only shallow media convergence thus far.
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Chapter 7: Subsidies: sustaining public service communication in a converging media environment

Peter Humphreys and Seamus Simpson

Extract

Chapter 7 examines the challenge to traditional media organisations presented by their changing technological and market environment. Its main argument is the need to rethink subsidy policy for journalism and public service content in the Internet era, former technology-specific approaches being rendered increasingly anomalous by digital convergence of the media and the Internet. Examining the UK policy debate, the chapter explores how support might be provided in a technology-neutral manner to public or private providers of ‘public service journalism’. It argues that established public service broadcasters (PSBs) like the BBC should be granted the means to adapt into public service media (PSM) operators. It also argues the case for a new institution specifically tasked and funded to support public service content in the digital, online environment. The chapter suggests how this could be funded through various kinds of industry levy, so as not to damage established PSB/PSM institutions.

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