Securing Quality in Public Service Television Entertainment

Bjørn von Rimscha, Miriam De Acevedo, Gabriele Siegert


The objective of this paper is twofold: First we discuss what can be regarded as quality in TV entertainment and how it's promoted or regulated by different media systems. We argue that the public value of entertainment depends on its quality. Thus, there should be a difference between entertainment programming in public service and commercial broadcasts. A brief review of discussion on media quality is provided in order to distinguish the perspective of recipients, producers and regulators. We find three different types of quality criteria: Minimum standards apply to all broadcasters, while Public Service Broadcasters (PSB) must address rather fuzzy additional criteria derived from their respective mandates. Small states impose additional criteria to protect their market and culture. To fulfill our second objective, we present findings from a comparative study in five European countries with different media systems about the role perception of TV commissioners in the production process of entertainment programming and their commitment to quality content. We find that commissioners at PSBs have generally internalized their programming mandates. They allocate higher importance to quality dimensions that address a public value, however, when it comes to tangible commissioning decisions they generally use the same decision criteria in the same ranking as their counterparts in commercial broadcasting.




TV entertainment quality; public service broadcasting; regulation; TV commissioners

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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896