Abstract: Rapid changes in audience habits, media technologies and market dynamics have prompted searching questions about the role and relevance of public service broadcasting (PSB) in the modern digital media landscape. In the UK, where cultural policymaking is increasingly politicised, the normative ideals traditionally associated with PSB are being openly contested. This article evaluates how PSB generates varied forms of “public value” of benefit to viewing and listening publics, policy stakeholders and the creative sector. On the basis of its qualitative analysis of policy documents and related research literatures over two decades, a typology of six values – social, cultural, economic, industrial, representational and civic – is identified and critiqued across regulatory and institutional frameworks. In assessing the challenges, risks and opportunities for sustaining these public values, this article offers its typology for informing cultural and media policy debates on the future of PSB in the UK and beyond.
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