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Competing Platform Imaginaries: Public Service Media at a Crossroad



Rok publikování 2023
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Popis In the last two decades, digitisation has seen a shift from public service broadcasting to public service media (Donders, 2012), i.e. a move towards the provision of public service across devices and through different technologies (Donders, 2019; Debrett, 2009), with an emphasis on audiences as an active and highly diversified source of demand, rather than just a homogenous broadcast target (Jakubowicz, 2007). This is part of the strategies of how public service media seek to justify and fulfil their role in a digitized media environment (Debrett, 2009). One of these strategies is the development of new digital platforms that are emerging in response to the rise of commercial VOD services (D'Arma, Raats, & Steemers, 2021). This is particularly prevalent in Western countries such as the UK (iPlayer BBC), Sweden (SVT Play), and Germany (Funk ARD and ZDF). The development of these platforms raises questions not only about the nature and functioning of the so-called public service algorithm (Sorensen & Hutchinson, 2018) but also about the nature of public service values in general (Lassen & Sorensen, 2023). This is because it is not only a technical innovation but always a social innovation that problematizes the established ways of internal and external functioning (Ehrhart et al., 2014) of media organizations. In our study, using an ethnographic approach combining 390 semi-structured interviews and a series of nonparticipant observations conducted between November 2020 and May 2023, we explore the platform imaginaries (van Es & Poell, 2020) held by Czech public service television employees during its development and implementation. We reveal their tacit knowledge and practices, the boundaries of their communities, their ideals (Thomsen, 2018) and, as a result, their imaginaries of the public service values that the medium should fulfil. We find two conflicting conceptions of platform imaginaries that we discuss. In doing so, we build on existing studies (Grainge & Johnson, 2018; van Es & Poell, 2020) but provide insights directly into the practice process of media professionals in Czech television and the neglected CEE region.

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