Public broadcasting in the future

Back in the twenties John Reith, the first general director of the BBC said that their most important mission was to “inform, educate and entertain”. If Mr. Reith had defined this mission today, would he said something else? Has the internet changed the main mission of a license funded public broadcaster?

There is no doubt about the fact that the internet is a perfect place to inform, educate and entertain. And it is possible for a public broadcaster to reach it’s goal without much change even when it is starting to utilize the internet to deliver information, education and entertainment.

But should license funded broadcasters like the BBC, the NRK in Norway, SVT in Sweden and DR in Denmark do something in addition to this when they start using the internet to deliver their content? Should we add some words? The internet opens up a totally new way of using content. A couple of words that pop up in my mind are share, participate, open, facilitate, make available…

I don’t think inform, educate and entertain cover the mantra of content, conversation, context and control. Or simply how to be successful on the internet. What do you think? Will the internet give public broadcasters new and important roles? I most definitely think so.

The comments are open. (And if you want to discuss this in Norwegian more or less directly related to the NRK I have also posted this article and opened for discussion over at NRKbeta.)

Public broadcasting in the future

3 thoughts on “Public broadcasting in the future

  1. atle says:

    I think one simple word might open up whole new avenues; “ENABLE”

    enable viewers/users to interact or feed back their opinions – along the lines of the “polling shows” done (Test nasjonen etc), but in a much more direct way; instant “digg” or “rate” along the way, opening up the editorial process (radical transparency, from the get go
    (And no, this does not mean the tyranny of the crowds, but a potentially vastly improved dialog, activating the user and expanding the scope of insight for the organization)

    enable viewers to be producers – taking a concept like “Urørt” (for unpublished/unsigned artist) and expanding it to make it easier to make you own digital contributions, possibly along the google route (apps and apis)

  2. “GUIDE”
    Tv & Radio have a low barrier to access a public broadcaster’s content. They’re adopted by almost every social level of society. Internet is far more complex to comprehend, understand and require lean forward from your audience. Nowadays, a majority of that crowd encounter more and more problems to keep up with new media and technologies.

    Your media brand is (likely) to be trusted by lots of users. As a public broadcaster, you have an opportunity to guide your audience through the digital revolution. A task with far more responsibilities than ‘inform’ and ‘educate’ as ‘reliability’ becomes ‘trust’ in an online community.

  3. eirikso says:

    Yes, “enable” is better than “make available”. Enable describes more than simple availability. It includes the fact that we need to present our content in an open system and in a way than enables people to really use it.

    And “trust” is also of immense importance. Trust is both a trust regarding accuracy in the content itself but also trust regarding reliability and usability.

    This is great feedback. Keep them coming.

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