Public service news and digital media
Can public service news organisations stay competitive in a digital environment? A new Reuters Institute report shows that while some public service news organisations in Europe – notably the BBC in the UK and Yle in Finland – have invested heavily and are navigating the challenges brought by digital media well, others are struggling to adapt.
The report examines how public service media in six European countries – Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the UK – are delivering news in an increasingly digital media environment.
High reach of news online in Finland and the UK
According to the study, public service media organisations in all six countries have a high reach for news offline, via TV and radio, but only BBC and Yle have a high reach for news online. These two are generally regarded as being ahead of most other public service media organisations, though they too are still heavily invested in traditional broadcasting operations and need to continue changing to keep pace with the environment.
Common traits between Yle and the BBC
Looking at the conditions under which Yle and the BBC operate, some key common traits are identified. Both organisations operate in technologically advanced media markets, are comparatively well funded, are integrated and centrally organised across various platforms and have a degree of insulation from political influence compared to other public service organisations, and internally, they benefit from a pro-digital culture.
The challenges will not go away
With technology developing at a fast pace, the digital challenges are not going to go away. The researchers warn that unless public service media organisations change their organisation to prioritise digital media, mobile platforms, and social distribution, they risk losing touch with their audience – the public they exist to serve, and which funds them.
About the study: This report is the first of a series of annual Reuters Institute reports that will look at how European public service media companies are adapting to digital change. The analysis is based on interviews conducted between December 2015 and February 2016, primarily with senior managers and editors, as well as on survey data from the Reuters Institute Digital News Report.
BY: EVA HARRIE