Public Service Media in the Networked Society

Editor(s): Gregory Ferrell Lowe, Hilde Van den Bulck, Karen Donders

The eighth RIPE Reader critically examines the ‘networked society’ concept in relation to public service media. Although a popular construct in media policy, corporate strategy and academic discourse, the concept is vague and functions as a buzzword and catchphrase. This Reader clarifies and critiques the networked society notion with specific focus on enduring public interest values and performance in media. At issue is whether public service media will be a primary node for civil society services in the post-broadcasting era? Although networked communications offer significant benefits, they also present problems for universal access and service. An individual’s freedom to tap into, activate, build or link with a network is not guaranteed and threats to net neutrality are resurgent. Networks are vulnerable to hacking and geo-blocking, and facilitate clandestine surveillance. This Reader prioritises the public interest in a networked society. The authors examine the role of public media organisations in the robust but often contradictory framework of networked communications. Our departure point is both sceptical and aspirational, both analytical and normative, both forward-looking and historically-grounded. While by no means the last word on the issues treated, this collection provides a timely starting point at least.


Hilde Van den Bulck, Karen Donders, Gregory Ferrell Lowe

Public Service Media in the Networked Society: What Society? What Network? What Role?
Hilde Van den Bulck, Karen Donders, Gregory Ferrell Lowe

Section I: Concepts and Critiques

An Impossible Challenge for Public Service Media? The Intellectual Context of the Networked Society
Peter Goodwin

Reclaiming Digital Space: From Commercial Enclosure to the Broadcast Commons
Graham Murdock

Public Service in the Age of Social Network Media
Stig Hjarvard

Digital Media Culture and Public Service Media in the Platform Era
Hermann Rotermund

Algorithms and Public Service Media
Jannick Kirk Sørensen, Jonathon Hutchinson

Section II: Policy, Structures and Governance

Public Service Media in the ‘Network’ Era: A Comparison of Remits, Funding, and Debate in 17 Countries
Corinne Schweizer, Manuel Puppis

The Feasibility of a Public Service Orientation in the Western Balkans: Complications for a ‘Networked Society’ in an Illiberal Context
Davor Marko

Public Service Media and Multilevel Governance: Citizen Participation in the Networked Society – the Spanish Case
Mercedes Muñoz Saldaña, Ana Azurmendi Adarraga

Public Service Media and Digital Innovation: The Small Nation Experience
Ruth McElroy, Caitriona Noonan

Public Service Media and Ecosystem Sustainability. Towards Effective Partnerships in Small Media Markets
Dirk Wauters, Tim Raats

Section III: Audiences, Distribution and Service Challenges

Distribution Dilemmas for Public Service Media: Evidence from the BBC
Maria Michalis

Young Audiences and their Valuation of Public Service Media: A Case Study in Austria
Gisela Reiter, Nicole Gonser, Markus Grammel, Johann Gründl

Networking Citizens: Public Service Media and Audience Activism in Europe
Christine Horz

Convergence and Participation in Children’s Television: The Case of Flemish Public Service Television
Alexander Dhoest, Marleen te Walvaart