Three key points:
Broadcasting is a national affair
Broadcasting is for the Public Good
Broadcasting is a means of entertainment and profit
Idea of Public Sphere
coordinated effort by government and radio manufacturers to provide a Broadcasting service...
otherwise radio manufacturers would soon go out of business.
BBCo - 1922-1926; Private Company
'Reithian' ethos is sometimes lazily defined as
straightforwardly elitist, patrician, authoritarian, stifling. But it was
always more complex than that. When Reith talked of bringing to British people
'the best' of things ideas and culture and information they did not know they
wanted but which he, at least, knew they needed in an era of mass democracy-he
undoubtedly played the neo- Victorian paternalist to perfection. What could be
grander, after all, than his quintessential claim that broadcasting should give
a lead to public taste rather than pander to it? 'He who prides himself on
giving what he thinks the public wants is often creating a fictitious demand
for lower standards which he himself will then satisfy.'4 Yet Reith went on to
say very clearly that the whole point was to bring the best' into the greatest
number of homes'. If broadcasting was a force for the improvement of taste and
knowledge and manners, as well as a means of promoting social unity, the task
was to enable men and women throughout the country to take an interest in
things from which they had previously been excluded. And if all British people
were to be led on to higher things, the
So right from the beginning, Reith and the government
generally (though they had great doubts about broadcasting ‘controversial material’,
wanted a service that would promote what might be called a modern democratic
system via a responsible control mechanism of indirectly applied monopoly (
wanted British type
But is British
Factors which inhibit importation
a) national culture
c) varied ethnicity/religion in one state
d) changing historical and political circumstances
I wish to argue that it is
the latter which leads the other 3 factors in securing or undermining
The most obvious form of factor (d) is that of clientelism:
Eg. India and its broadcaster: Doordashan – seved Indira Ghandi’s Congress party and then with political change, the Janata party.
Reasons for this clientelism:
Politics of complex states
– after independence many states were complexes of various ethnic groups which
were ruled by a dominant party/one party state or eventually by a military
dictatorship – eg
opposition: Media does what it’s told. No danger of the opposition getting into power so government can rule
the roost including the media who can’t be critical a la
The government had to juggle these competing interests just to balance things and not to let internal civil strife rear its ugly head.
But this reasoning can used for more self-serving purposes:
Where the government bullies the media into putting on programmes that serve the political imperatives of the government of the day…
Especially when it comes to election time and the governing party is trying to get votes from all different kinds of voters.
A variant of this was
The overthrow of the General Jaruzelski’s communist government by Solidarnosc (the union based socio-political movement) created big hopes of popular democracy and freedom of speech ie. free pluralist media.
But the difficulties of
reforming the existing political system meant that despite activists
desire for a critical
The government wanted a media that was supportive of it.
In 1992 the broadcasting
Act provided for a classic
BUT by 1995 the Broadcasting Council who were the media regulators were seen by the Polish president as being obstructive…
They had been put under
pressure to give a commercial licence to a media company that would be friendly
to the regime. They would not do this so the President of
In the case of
Constitutionalism and the
party cycle model (Labour/Conservative cycle) of political change has
Also no bottom up and varied popular political movements demanding change to which government felt they had to be responsive – thus pushing media into making the required responses.
Other systems which have
very stable yet different
Sweden runs on the concept
of folkbildning - where socially representative bodies –
unions, temperance groups, farmers free church and sports movements were given
a 60% stake in
This elaborate democratic
system was to get away from any taint of
In Latin and South
America there is virtually no
the most significant changes in the broadcasting landscape policy-wise have
This is because of:
a) gradual move towards multi-channel broadcasting
b) move from centralised political control of Euro broadcasting
c) internationalisation of broadcasting via satellite across 1990s...
EU has its foundations in an accord over industrial production between European states - 1951 (6 year after end of WW2)
6 European states get together, recognising that relations may go wider than merely industrial matters - ie. extend to social and cultural matters.
ISSUE HERE IS
THE DESIRE TO KEEP A EUROPEAN ETHOS GOING, IF ONLY CULTURALLY, WAS IN THE
HOWEVER THE FOUNDING DOCUMENT
OF THE EU – THE TREATY OF
Public Service Broadcasting was the dominant model for all the EU states right through the 1970s and into the 1980s. This also protected national political ambitions and constitutional arrangements over broadcasting.
Cable and Satellite – prospect of multi-channel commercial broadcasting opened up questions about whither European broadcasting?
It also raised matters of LIBERALISATION - link to
Thatcher reforms of nationalised industry and privatisation in
EU now beginning to discuss a ‘cultural and Audio-Visual common market’
1984 – GREEN PAPER FROM EU: “A Common market in Broadcasting”
1986 Council of
Thus further attempts to define a European communications market
recommends quotas for
European produced TV for all member states; thus attempting to limit the amount
of non-European (
And: each member state should be prepared to screen material from any other member state – thus encouraging free flow of ‘information’ between states.
And: 10% of broadcasters budgets should be used to
take material from Independents – a challenge to the dominant
THIS MOVES TOWARDS 2 STRATEGIES OF EU/AV POLICY:
B) PAN EUROPEAN BROADCASTING ETHOS
Problem: cultural self-determination – right of states to show what they wanted to show as judged appropriate to their people
1997 Treaty of
To whit: MEDIA I
OTHER ELEMENT TO MEDIA POLICY IN THE EU IS THE TELCOMMS SECTOR
THE FOUNDING DOCUMENT FOR THIS IS THE BANGEMANN REPORT 1994
CONVERGENCE TECHNOLOGIES IS AT THE HEART OF THIS
But once you embark on convergence it encourages a global market in AV and subjects each country to flows of goods across its borders and tends to undermine the expansion of weaker countries’ individual markets that cannot, because of their having signed up to EU-wide agreements, protect themselves.
All this was supported though in the 1997 Green paper on Convergence
2 dimensions to the development of EU policies:
a) Economic – liberalisation (dominant?)
b) Political/Cultural: the idea of Pan-European culture.
The ultimate conflict in this is that between Convergence and Pluralism
EU-regional/Global market in hardware and software leads to economic and cultural dominance (CONVERGENCE) from already strong players
This is undermining of the developing economic infrastructure
and cultural autonomy weaker individual EU states (PLURALISM) (prob of nationally desired/defined pace of determination of econ development being forced along at the pace of EU supra-national rate)
especially those in the
Satellite TV and the emergence of European Trans-national TV – 1960-1990
Satellite television is television delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, usually a parabolic mirror generally referred to as a satellite dish, and as far as household usage is concerned, a satellite receiver either in the form of an external set-top box or a satellite tuner module built into a TV set
With Pay-TV services, the datastream is encrypted and requires proprietary reception equipment. While the underlying reception technology is similar, the Pay-TV technology is proprietary, often consisting of a Conditional Access Module and smart card
Home Box Office (HBO), which had leased a transponder on the satellite,
became the first programmer to transmit programming signals to the cable TV
providers, and that really encouraged the cable TV industry. In 1977, the first
satellite-delivered basic cable service, Christian Broadcasting Network, or the
led the field in the
the other key player was Ted Turner – who started in TV in 1970 but got
permission in 1976 from the FCC to begin transmitting a satellite to cable
service – WTBS. Like HBO this grew into a national network. But what made
Turner famous was his creating a satellite to cable 24hrs news
service. In 1980 he started CNN – cable News network and expanded into
With increased objections from the Pay TV stations against the free use of their programming channels, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) founded the Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) in 1980, which required people to have a black box or DTH satellite receiver, purchased from the broadcaster to receive the scrambled programming signals. The early 90s saw the use of digital encryption technology that completely secured the programming signals, and saw the entry of many Satellite TV providers.
The planning for DBS-TV in Europe and
as far back as 1978 Brian Haynes who had made a documentary for Thames TV on
Turner decided to have a go himself at launching a European service. He gained
space on the European Space Agency’s transponder but he struggled to gain the
agreement of the necessary one signature of a member of Eutelsat
– the regulatory body overseeing telecomms in
This was against the backdrop of no pan-Euro legislation and no permission to take advertising. Indeed at that time there was no commercial TV in most European countries.
Jean Chalaby notes: Satellite TV plc (Haynes’s company) was in English and it was a diet of pop music, soaps, cheap TV series and sport. But nonetheless advertising inasmuch as it was allowed in some countries, came from Unilever, Coca Cola and Philips – and these were huge Corps.
Meanwhile in a general round up of development in media, Murdoch had called a conference of his people and was advised to get a foot in the European door of the new media initiatives. Pulling a team together to do precisely that , Murdoch stumbled across the financially ailing Satellite TV plc of Haynes. It needed £6mln to keep going and by the Summer of 1983 Murdoch had bought the company for £1 plus the debts.
transpired that Murdoch had attempted to get into satellite in the
he wanted was a
then, the beginnings of trans-national TV service in
The immediate success of what was called the TV5 service led to a new German based service in late ’84 called 3Sat. that was backed by ZDF (FDR) ORF (Austria) and SRG (German speaking Switz)
clear that Sat TV and moreover trans-nat Tv in
In Britain as we have seen Murdoch was on the move but what was key was the UK govt openness to new media ventures and also the 1982 Hunt Cmtee report on DBS and cable which recommended that the govt should award franchise for the development of cable esp. Thorn-EMI backed the idea and developed Thorn-EMI cable progs to launch 3 services: Premiere (films), Childrens Channel and Music Box. The latter a music TV service was a slot on Sky from Feb 84 and then a full channel in cahoots with branson’s Virgin group. Music Box ultimately reached 3.3mln people across 10 European countries.
But too many of these Co’s struggled to turn a profit, and in deed Music Box failed to, and lost 15mln before opening negotiations with MTV and finally with ITV Co’s who created it as Super Channel in Jan 87.
however had seen that Murdoch’s operations were pulling huge advert revenue so
pushed ahead with Super Channel finding a market across
ITVs hopes were dashed – there was no
adequate pan Euro advertising revenues to be gotten. Apart from Sky the
other channel to succeed was another one noted for news – CNN. It came to
here RM comes back in. EBU wants an International Sports service and in 1988
signs a deal with Murdoch to run it. But Murdoch losing
money. Not enough ads, and cable operators were
wanting more money to carry Sky etc. So RM wanted shot of them to have more
money to break into
RM top dog in satellite TV courtesy of sports TV and Astra+dishes and no more reliance on cable as the greedy piggy in the middle.
Avertising revenue – the sticking point.
Ad revenue was always a chimera – a fantasy. It was estimated in 1988 and confirmed in further research in 1991 that pan-Euro advert market was worth perhaps up to 2% of the total ad spend of british advertising. Equivalent to one month spend on ITV and C4 at that time. And further there was a number of probs with pan-EuroTV ad:
1) few companies had need of pan-Euro advertising
2) lots of brands changed names in different countries anyway
3) Ad campaigns unsuited to pan-Euro treatment. Needed different marketing strategies for diff countries.
4) Advertisers had no central budget to manage pan-Euro campaign; they organised around their offices in individual countries helped along by the local ad agency (disincentive to go for pan-Euro TV ad – local agency would lose their ad money) but for pan-Euro TV they needed one budget and one campaign.
5) Could not control the how far the ad travelled so it may be seen in a country that does not have the product in its shops. And if there were only a few that had the goods then pan-Euro ads were wasteful.
6) Audience numbers different between countries.
7) Advert regulations differed from one country to another. esp for things like alcohol
what the new broadcasters did bring apart from an acceleration of
neo-liberalisation of media markets and cultural change in very heavily
Was highly structured scheduling; this happens on Monday and this on Tuesday in this time slot etc – horizontal programming.
They showed cheap imports but also made
their own progs But production costs
were far lower than in
Pan Euro sat brdc
brought choice to Europe TV in a time when
It forced the pace of the development of European media policy: the negotiations and implementation of TVWF 1989.
TVWF: the original draft of it by the Council of
Europe (inter-country meetings of Ministers) in 1987 sought to control the new
boys. It wanted restrictions of all aspects of transfrontier
broadcasting e.g. no sponsorship of progs by
demanding that ads were only within ad breaks; no targeting of specific markets
and that the satellite channels comply with each and every countries national
Fro the proposals that were set out in the 1984 Green paper through to the European Commissions directive of October 1989 there were battles. But the final version that had been re-written by the Commission was more liberal than the CoE’s initial version. This was because the Commission looked back to the 1957 Treaty of Rome – one of the EU founding documents as well as the Single European Act of 1986 that made it clear that chief aim of the EU was a single market – a transfrontier economic system. And thus the Commissions aim was to encourage free flow of all kinds of goods including TV.
Thus there was an easing off of the advertising restrictions as proposed and more importantly a pull back from the quota rule that 60% of broadcasters material had to be of European origin – it went down to a simple majority of 50%.
And it got round the proposed requirement to have sat brdcs accommodating all individual nations brdc rules and policies by making legal transfrontier retransmissions across EU states. All that satellite broadcaster had to apply was the laws and rules on media that were applicable in the country in which they were primarily registered and from which they operated.
Thus by the terms of TVWF, pan-European Satellite TV came of age in that it was put in afar more sound footing legally.
Satellite/cable TV - 1990 to today – the growing power of Murdoch.
Satellite TV since the late 70s has almost always (and
Around 1990 Murdoch amongst others gets places on the
note the existing context - that a) a lot of Europe was cabled – so cable operators were key layers on the multi-channel market and, b) satellite and cable services were not only commercial – states e.g. France with its TV5 and Germany with Sat3 also launched multi-channel provision.
Several processes key to the enabling but not necessarily rapid growth of non-terrestrial trans-frontier European TV – Euro Satellite/Cable TV for short!
a) Politics: the grudging acceptance of it
c) Economics: In the end, TVWF permitted a larger amount of non-European i.e. American material to be shown (from 40% up to 50% of broadcast material) and this helped commercial Euro TV providers to show more cheaper popular material, and this make the economies of scale work.
d) Cable operators could cherry pick which channels they took on their networks which were also restricted by analogue bandwidth, and so again securing a stable and substantial audience was a problem (thus the desire to change to DTH systems) Even in 1991, out of 132mln TV homes, there was only 25mln cable connections across EU
e) Ideological: slowly the idea of a multi-lingual
cross-European (transfrontier) TV hoped for by the
politicians, was collapsing, and satellite and cable was retreating, but
increasingly successfully so, into predominantly national services offered by
f) Legal: TVWF 1989 (and the 1997 and the 2003-07 ‘Audio Visual Media Services’ directive updates to TVWF ) confirm the principle) broadcasters only have to obey the media regs for country in which they are domiciled – where they have your main HQ. They do not have to take into account every regs of every country to which you broadcast – which would have a been a real pain.
The other key legal hurdle that was overcome was copyright and rights payments. This was a real tangle of interests. In many cases across the 80s and 90s, broadcasters simply ignored the people and companies to whom they owed rights payments.
directive of 1993 sorted all this out. What it also did apart from ensure a
centralisation of payment by an appointed agency to rights holders across, was
All terms of copyright – e.g. how many times can the music for this series be used etc must bet agreed between content creators e.g. composers, musicians and the content aggregators (TV Co’s) and content distributors (cable operators/satellite platforms)
…and the pan-European copyright collecting society – the centralised agency that manages the whole copyright payments procedure.
This stopped rights holders from blocking cross border transmissions on copyright grounds. It was either broadcast or no broadcast, but not ‘in this country but not that one’.
Slowly then European legislators and regulators devised systems by which to shape the new trans-frontier TV services without hindering then unfairly –despite the occasional attempts of some of the to do so.
But nonetheless at 1991 only about 1/5th of homes had access to cable or satellite TV yet by 2006 of 164.7mln homes 97.7mln had cable or satellite and more significantly and this should be a clue as to reasons for growth – of 114mln homes in eastern Europe (post-communism) 40.5 mln TV homes had access.
But there is another techno reasons for enabling growth and this has to do with co-locational geo-stationary satellites.
Under the old Eutelsat arrangements – where transponder space was sold unilaterally by member states that were signatories to the Eutelsat system – broadcasters found that they were allocated places on a range of satellites stationed anywhere between 7 and 16 degrees East.
This meant that to get a really wide range of TV channels was not possible as you could only point your household satellite dish at one satellite at one location. There was pressure to change this. In 1993 the somewhat Euro-sceptic Bruges Group brought together 5 PSBs involved in satellite TV and lobbied Eutelsat. Eutelsat was asked to provide one position at which to group TV relaying satellites – at 13 degrees East. This is co-location.
Other factors that have led to expansion have been:
of satellites –Astra (
b) dual feed dishes – that can receive two signals if satellites located fairly close to each other.
c) Rise in number of transponders per satellite due to digitalisation and multiplexing. Typically 10 per sat in early 90s; now 64.
By end of 2006 Hot Bird broadcast 1050 channels to 12 mln homes across
Co-location of sats has led to a
‘shopping mall’ aspect to it all. Given the lots of channels beaming from one
position and thus lots of dishes pointing towards that position not least in
And of course inevitably there emerges what might be called meta-arrangements where by large corps will buy up loads of satellite transponders and create a management package to supply satellite broadcasting to broadcasters –a sort to one-stop shop.
Wider Contexts of Broadcasting. WIPO/
Neo-Liberalism/liberalisation as ideology
Media Pluralism as ideal and relation to Public Sphere.
Note that Europe, including UK has had a far more collectivist notion of these things i.e at the heart of U/Euro broadcasting is the idea of Public Service
To not let the market determine the supply of media products is to impose state-led cultural ideologies about what citizens should think…
Except that to try to impose unfettered market mechanisms through which programmes and cultural gods are distributed is also a state led ideology of the free-market no matter what harm it does to others and indeed to the circulation of ideas – i.e. the harm to media pluralism.
And tried to use international (global) trade mechanism to abolish other countries protectionist measures.
This level of Global policing of trade is a form of GOVERNANCE as opposed to GOVERNMENT:
Governance is the dispersed system of making binding agreements at national and international levels about the organisation and implementation of political and economic issues and things.
So which orgs are the key players in International trade?
World Trade Organisation (WTO) within which:
General Agreement on Trades in Services(GATS) operates.
1998 – US pushes for adoption of the pro-liberalisation approaches of the OECD: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. WTO secretariat produces a paper on trade in Audio-visual services in line with this. Thus starting international negotiations for an agreement for all countries to open their borders for trade of any other countries media products.
The argument is that national restrictions on imports of media services will frustrate open trade in images and ideas a version of the implied link between free-market and global cultural democracy. It will also limit corporate profitability.
The only other country than the
World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO): Property rights not least DRM global policies
Big players such as the
UK/USA dominate media markets
80% of prog sales are US/UK
65% of formatted programme sales (soaps/reality TV etc.) are UK/US
Anywhere between 40% and 90% of films in any country are US made.
And of course the Internet
devolved away from the
Still battles going on for who controls: techie interests or Political/state-based ones.
Problems of liberal models against authoritarian or conservative cultural and religious regimes. See Thailand recent spat with Facebook