Public television in transition : a comparative and historical analysis of the BBC and the NRK
The present study is a long term structural analysis of how broadcasting systems develop and change. The analysis focuses primarily on the establishment and development of public service television in Britain and Norway, and combines two different approaches: broadcasting policy studies and historical analysis. The study has been based mainly on documentary sources: Official publications, comments on broadcasting policy from various groups and interested parties, and material published by the two broadcasting corporations (the BBC and the NRK). The study has produced results on two levels: Firstly, it has identified a series of similar processes and alliances in the two countries in connection with the establishment and development of broadcasting systems. Secondly, it has produced detailed results regarding the present crisis for public broadcasting in the two countries. The study has demonstrated that while the privileges of the BBC and the NRK have been undermined, they are still expected to fulfil many of their original obligations, obligations which in turn have become more difficult to fulfil. These developments have presented the corporation with difficult challenges regarding both their financial bases and their social legitimacy. The corporations have both responded these challenges with a dual strategy: On the one hand they have attempted to improve their financial balances and adapt to market-standards, whereas on the other they have strengthened their commitment to some of the areas which they have seen as crucial to their identity as public broadcasters. While these strategies may be successful in the short term, however, they may produce new challenges in the long term.