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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


Alessandro D’Arma is Reader in Media and Communication and Director of the CAMRI PhD Programme. He holds a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

He is the elected Co-President of the International Association of Public Media Researchers (IAPMR – 2021-2024). Previously (2016-2021) he served as Co-Chair of the Public Service Media Policies Working Group of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).

Before pursuing an academic career, Alessandro had worked as a media industry analyst and contributed to numerous consultancy reports.


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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