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October 2011

How Public Service Broadcasting Is Perceived in the World

From the 2011 Cross-national Survey on Public Service Broadcasting in Six Countries

Yoshiko Nakamura/Hiroshi Aramak/Ichiro Higashiyama/Mieko Ida

The cross-national survey on “public service broadcasting” was conducted in February 2011 in six countries: France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The purpose of this survey is to grasp the current conditions of public service broadcasting in each nation amidst a process of change in media, economic and social environments, from the standpoint of media usage and awareness of the audience. This was the first survey in five years since the previous survey held in 2006.

With a comparison with the previous survey in mind, the authors again used the four domains to compose the report: (1) media use, (2) usage and evaluation of public service broadcasting, (3) necessity of public service broadcasting and evaluation on funding sources, and (4) roles of public service broadcasting.

As to the usage and evaluation of public service broadcasting, it is revealed that a common trend in all surveyed nations is that public broadcasting are watched more often by the elderly people than by other age groups, but there still are different two types; Germany and Japan are the prominent examples of this trend while France, Korea, and UK show a relatively small generation gap. Responses to questions regarding the necessity of public service broadcasting are almost the same as in the previous survey; more than 80 percent of respondents feel public service broadcasting is necessary in each country, with small generation gaps. Besides, more than 60 percent in each country support the meaning of license/receiving fee system or payment by viewers to underpin the funding sources, with France, Korea and UK having more supporters than in the previous survey. Many respondents in each country regard ten items that were indicated in the survey as the roles of public broadcasting as necessary, with “universality,” “citizenship,” and “quality programs” being the most notable examples.

Analyzing these survey outcomes along with the transition of actual audience share elucidates a common challenge of public service broadcasters of all surveyed countries, which is how they should play the expected roles amidst the polarization of viewers and gradually decreasing shares.

The NHK Monthly Report on Broadcast Research


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