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What is the scope of ‘A Future for Public Service Television’ Inquiry?

The Inquiry has been set up to consider the nature, purpose and place of public service television today and for the future. It aims to address how public service content can be most effectively nurtured taking into consideration a range of services, platforms and funding models. Taking our cue from the Pilkington Inquiry in 1962 that combined a searing analysis of TV’s public purposes with specific recommendations about how to embed these purposes inside particular channels and institutions, we aim to examine how best to secure quality content that informs and inspires, entertains and educates, connects and challenges audiences in the 21st century.

Why is this Inquiry needed at this time?

We’re at a pivotal time of enormous technological change and financial uncertainty in broadcasting. Channels and platforms are proliferating, the ways in which audiences access and consume television, and television content itself is changing day by day. Now is the right time to examine the whole subject of public service television: its significance in this multi-channel ecology, and how best to preserve and nurture it for the future.

How is this Inquiry different from others?

‘A Future for Public Service Television’ Inquiry, chaired by Lord Puttnam, is bringing together some of the industry’s foremost practitioners and experts. It aims to take a uniquely broad view of public service broadcasting and, working with partners of distinction (the British Academy, Hansard Society, BAFTA, Vice, and The Guardian) will draw on a wide field of research and debate. It will consider a wide range of issues including governance, representation, youth engagement, regionalism and the role of all the nations of the UK in an evolving television landscape.

Is this directly related to the BBC’s Charter renewal process?

The BBC’s Charter Renewal process is a significant part of this Inquiry but our scope is much wider and more far-reaching. We aim to look at public service broadcasting across a wide range of channels and platforms, and to develop broad-based proposals for the media, institutions and for audiences in the 21st century.

Who are the partners and why have you chosen them?

Our partners are the British Academy, BAFTA, Hansard Society, The Guardian and Vice. We’ve chosen them as institutions and organisations who can reach out to a wide spectrum of expertise and academic rigour as well as the relevant sectors of specialist interest and knowledge. In doing so we aim to tap into as comprehensive a picture as possible across the many different and diverse audiences, young and old, who consume public service television.

How is the Inquiry being funded?

The Inquiry is based at the Media and Communications department of Goldsmiths, University of London and will also be supported by a series of events produced with our partners.

What’s the timescale?

We launched in October 2015 and are organising a series of events until June 2016 when we will publish our findings. The report will be launched at the British Academy on Wednesday 29 June 2016.

What are the roles of the Advisory Committee and the Broadcast Committee?

The Advisory Committee provided guidance on participants and events and how best to frame the remit of the Inquiry. The separate Broadcast Panel was composed of leading industry voices and provided feedback in relation to Inquiry events and publications.

How did the Inquiry gather its material?

We invited submissions from a range of media, civil society and academic voices. We also gathered information and research from our series of events which reached out to a wide range of audiences, specialist sectors and interested parties.

Who are the other contacts for the Inquiry?

The Project Lead is Professor Des Freedman, and he is supported by the other members of the secretariat, Professor James Curran, Dr Vana Goblot and Janie Ironside Wood.