Friday, 22 May 2009

How well does the British Broadcasting industry serve the public?

Any aspect of media is formed by a conjunction between audience and institution. Therefore the British Broadcasting industry finds many ways to give satisfaction to the UK public. Of course we have to consider public service broadcasters, whose original ideologies are primarily for the public's benefit the people of the UK. However in recent years it could be argued that these origninal ideologies have been lost. In this essay i shall debate and conclude how well the British Broadcasting industry serves the public.The BBC, the UK's leading broadcaster, was set up to "inform, educate and entertain" the people of the UK, and its illustrious and successful is evident of this. In the past they have ensured that they show quality programming catering for all audiences including minorities. The fact that it runs purely on a license fee funded by the public and not commercial income could instantly clarify their intentions. in it's history this license fee has been questioned, with minister's to one point demanding quality programming or the withdrawal of the universal fund. Programmes such as Eastenders have helped saved the fee, as well as the BBC's original purpose. However the new millenia has been the thorn in the BBC's side, particularly with the release of Digital TV. It's benefits are endless; we can now watch nearly any programme we want, whenever we want. BSkyB, or more recently Sky+ now mean we can create our own schedules, and even pause, rewind and fast forward live T.V. It questions the purpose of PSB's; why should we pay a license fee when we can subscrbe to a Sky or Virgin package with more choice, more for your money and more freedom? This is also evident with the rest of the public, as viewing figures state in the last month 41.6% of people engaged in "other t.v" compared to BBC1's 20.8%. Because of this, BBC has been recently focusing it's purpose on commercial success. Due to the competetive nature of modern broadcasting BBc have had to fight to ensure viewing figures, and this has unfourtanetly diminished the ideologies of the company. As well as this can we really claim that that the BBC still serves our needs? the Jonothan Ross/Russel Brand prank calls on Radio 2 really do question the quality of the BBC, and the overall need for PSB's.However, in defence of PSB's, there are some, such as Channel 4, that have gone to extreme extents to excite the public. Channel 4 are renowned for contorversial programming and their anarchy nature. The original owner John Issacs claimed he wanted the channel to "be judged for everything". Its had many positive impacts on television, spanning from documentaries to comedies and multi-cultural programming, it's clear that there was something for everyone. Their playful characteristics have been well recieved for young audiences, dating back to prorgrammes like "The Tube" based on youth culture to modern reality T.V shows like Big Brother, which has piorneered the channel's success in the noughties. It has always taken risks, and as well as this it has reflected the present times through its programming. Saturday Live shown in the 80's had a huge affect on the entertainment scene of the time, and through programmes like Brookside it has reflected the divisions in British society. And although controversies such as Minipops in the 80's, and the Big Brother racist incident involving Jade Goody have spurred absolute hatred for the channel, there is no denying it has always guaranteed excitement for the public. Although it can be argued that like the BBC, that Channel 4 in recent years has stopped taking risks in order to focus more on financial success.After close case studies on these two broadcasters, i believe that in the modern era PSB is becoming more and more irrelevant due to the existance of new technologies and the deterioation of the "Global Village" that T.V used to exist as. No longer do we watch T.V as a family, and the competition for financial success suggests PSB's do not really serve much purpose in the modern age. However it has not stopped them trying, and i think that they have always gone to extents to excite the public, whether that be on the specific guidlines of the BBC (to inform, to entertain) or the excitement Channel 4 presents to us. And i do claim that even recent programmes like Big Brother, have served the public's interests as they are so widely recieved. So as a whole, i conclude that PSB's have served the public brilliantly, and have never stopped exciting, suprising and pleasing the people of the UK. However with the digital switchover fast approaching, and money being the object, i do believe that PSB's will eventually become irrelevant to the public.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

H.W: Identify the challenges faced by PSB in recent years (1990) and consider its position within the current UK broadcasting market

PSB has faced many challenges to succeed in the current UK broadcasting market. Reasons such as existance of new technologies, politicians and the 1990 Broadcasting Act are just a few of the reasons this has happened.
PSB's general requirments are to maintain a high standard and wide range of programming, including topics such as education, and current news and affairs. It must also cater for all tastes and minorities. PSB's are meant to be for the people, which may mean too much focus is on customer satisfaction that finanical success. UK television moved during the Thatcher years from programme-led production to advertising-led production. In turn, this means current producers are much less likely to be supported by management if risky ventures do not show quick results in terms of audience members. PSB broadcasting is in doubt if their ratings become the only factor concerning programme success, as it simply diminishes the purpose of PSB's aim for public benefit. Although during the mid 1990's channels like the BBC and 4 have done well in this area, as they have maintained their audience share whilst ITV have been losing them. However in the long term it could jeopardise the original PSB aims.
Even dating back to the earlier years PSB's, particularly the BBC have struggled to survive the broadcasting market. When Rupert Murdoch planned to expand commercial television, the government questioned the BBC lisence fee, which was a conerstone of its purpose. Ministers argued that unless the corpration produced programmes that everyone watched, they could not expect universal funding. Eastenders, a serious BBC rival to Coronation Street was what met this challenge, and by rivalling ITV without the assistance of commercial funding it maintained its licence fee. However it was once again questioned due to the Jonathan Ross/Russel Brand incident in 2008, when they made a series of prank calls to Andrew Sachs on Radio 2. Not only does this question the fee but it also questions the way the BBC is run, which makes the scandal hugley damaging, and it may have now seriously undermined the case for the licence fee.
We also have to consider the emergence of technologies such as Sky, and Digital programming. Particulary in the noughties, the rise of popularity in Digital TV has been huge, with almost 87.1% of the televised population now having it. The endless variety of channels digital T.V provides means consumers are free to view almost anything they wish, including all minorities, and this does question the purpose of PSB's. Their morales of customer satisfaction are echoed now through digital TV, and a 2009 survey states that 42.6 % of people decide to watch "Other Programming" on their T.V, compared to just 19.4 % for the BBC. Although much popular than any other terrestrial channels its clear Digital TV's proliferation has impacted Public Service Broacasters hugely, and by the time the Digital Switchover happens in 2012, it could be what ends PSB all together.
Even through all this however PSB's still seem to maintain their audience figures, as well as their customer satisfaction. So for now we can guarantee its saftey. However the future does not look bright, and with the switchover fast approaching, and the endless minorities and cultures that now represent our country, PSB's may find it hard to follow its principles that orginally made them; and thats customer satisfaction

Monday, 4 May 2009

Explain how broadcasting in a deregulated Britain offers more or less choice depending on you P.O.V

Deregulation britain has had a huge impact on the amount of "choice" we as an audience get when consuming T.V today. The two regulations the government specifically focused on were editorial and economic regulation, which is basically the content shown on channels, as well as the quantity of channels there can actually be.
It could be argued that the deregulation offers more choice, particularly for mass audiences. The intentions of the government was to create more channels, which of course means more programming for people to view. As well as this the BBC has endless accessibility and not just on T.V. BBC Radio supplies 5 major national stations, all having their own specific purposes, ranging from music, current affairs and sports. Furthermore the supply of BBC World Service means its accessible all the time, and its versatility provides plenty of choice for all audiences. It's clear that there is no shortage in quantity for audiences to choose from, and these services are accessible at any point during the day.
The increase of competition for financial success has increased the motivational drive of the broadcasters, however as their intentions are purely of commercial interest it does not necessarily mean the quality of the channels improve. It particularly impacts the niche channels, who lack the funds to compete with the wealthier channels, and therefore these are going out of business. In turn this does not please the large percentage of alternative audiences who were dedicated to these smaller channels.
I myself do believe the there has been a decrease in quality and taste in these broadcasters because of deregulation. One defining example is the Brand & Ross incident on Radio Two. The prank calls were heard by around 40,000 people, and this is not what these people should have to put up with. The Brand/Ross incident is completley irrelevant and does not interest me at all. The BBC's purpose is to be the broadcaster for the people (hence why we pay for it) and this incident is another example of how the BBC fails to be this any more. I also believe the programming itself is lacking in decency. Soaps like Eastenders, that form themselves on extremist reality situations. Themes such as paedophilia and domestic violence for a faimly viewing programme are completely uneccessary and unsuitable, and something that I personally do not find wrong. Programmes like this almost make a parody of these serious issues.
Another now useless entity is channel 5. The Broadcasting Act in 1990 was how this channel was made, and I myself fail to see its purpose. Most of it's programming consists of old films and poor over-dramatic documentaries. It's audience share percentages speak for itself, reaching only 4.6 percent in 2008. It does not supply any choice, it simply broadcasts what other channels already show, so it really has no purpose.
Another concerning factor is the 2012 switchover, meaning all terrestrial signals shall be gone and replaced by digital signals only. This means that every owner of a T.V in the country must purchase new technology in order to receive these, and this financially is an issue for poorer people. So again there is less variety for these people when the switchover happens. The final negative impact is advertising. Although BBC do not run adverstisments they are still under pressure to compete against the other big channels, which should not be the case as this undermines what the BBC stand for. Its apparent now that BBC are more interested now in their financial gains rather than the satisfaction of its consumers, and for that reason and the stated above i do believe that a deregulated britain has created less choice for us as an audience