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Public service media in the age of SVoDs: A comparative study of PSM strategic responses in Flanders, Italy and the UK

A Research Paper by Alessandro D'Arma and Tim Raats, published by Media, Culture and Society

Netflix and other transnational online video streaming services are disrupting long-established arrangements in national television systems around the world. In this paper we analyse how public service media (PSM) organisations (key purveyors of societal goals in broadcasting) are responding to the fast-growing popularity of these new services. Drawing on Philip Napoli’s framework for analysing strategic responses by established media to threats of competitive displacement by new media, we find that the three PSM organisations in our study exhibit commonalities. Their responses have tended to follow a particular evolution starting with different levels of complacency and resistance before settling into more coherent strategies revolving around efforts to differentiate PSM offerings, while also diversifying into activities, primarily across new platforms, that mimic SVoD approaches and probe production collaborations. Beyond these similarities, however, we also find that a range of contextual factors (including path-dependency, the role and status of PSM in each country, the degree of additional government support, cultural factors and market size) help explain nuances in strategic responses between our three cases.

Alessandro D'Arma


I joined CAMRI in 2007 and I am currently a Senior Lecturer. Before moving into academia, I worked as a media industry analyst for media consultancy firms. I have a PhD in communications policy.

Main areas of research expertise: media policy and regulation, especially European broadcasting and audiovisual policy; analysis of media, cultural and digital industries; Italian media and politics; political economy of children’s media. I am on the editorial board of the journal ‘Interactions: Studies in Communication and Culture’.


11 January 2021
Published By
Media, Culture and Society
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CAMRI | Public service media in the age of SVoDs: A comparative study of PSM strategic responses in Flanders, Italy and the UK - CAMRI
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