Public service broadcasting (PSB)
Public service broadcasting (PSB) has a long and proud tradition in the UK, delivering impartial and trusted news, UK-originated programmes and distinctive content.
The public service broadcasters are those providing Channel 3 services, Channel 4, Channel 5, S4C and the BBC. While all BBC public service television channels are PSB channels, only the main channels of each of the other public service broadcasters have this status.
The reviews and reports below show how well the UK's public service broadcasters are performing.
Small Screen: Big Debate (July 2021)
On 27 February 2020, Ofcom published a review of how public service broadcasting (PSB) has delivered for UK audiences over a five-year period (2014 – 2018) and a five-year review of Channel 4’s performance in meeting its media content duties. We also commissioned research to ask viewers and listeners from across the UK to tell us about their use of PSB content, its role and relevance in their lives, and how that might change in the future.
Both publications and accompanying research helped inform our wider programme of work on the future of PSB – Small Screen: Big Debate. Taking a different approach to our previous PSB reviews, its purpose was to provoke a broad and dynamic national conversation about how to renew the UK’s public service media (PSM) system for the next decade.
On 15 July 2021, we published our final recommendations to Government on the future of public service media (PDF, 1.5 MB). Our recommendations were informed by the views of audiences across the UK and stakeholders both here and abroad – including over 100 responses to our consultation.
Following this review, we will continue to support Government in developing any future media regulation.
The future of public service media (July 2019)
On 4 July 2019, we published a document signalling our future approach to the regulation of public service broadcasters in the digital age (PDF, 145.7 KB). This considers how PSB might be defined, delivered and discovered in future, prioritising the audience’s perspective.
PSB in the digital age (March 2018)
On 8 March 2018, we published a document that sets out the challenges facing the PSB system (PDF, 383.6 KB) in the context of greater online media consumption and competition from new global players.
Last year, we published our report to the Secretary of State in anticipation of a new licensing round for the Channel 3 and Channel 5 services.
The report sets out our view on how well the Channel 3 and Channel 5 licensees could contribute to the fulfilment of the purposes of PSB, at a commercially sustainable cost, over the next ten-year licence period.
The Secretary of State has confirmed that she does not intend to prevent the renewal of the Channel 3 and Channel 5 licences, nor use her order-making powers to amend the public service remit and/or other statutory requirements attached to the licences.
On 19 September 2023, we published our methodology for a review of the financial terms of the Channel 3 and Channel 5 licences.
- Public Service Broadcasting Annual Compliance Report 2023
- Public Service Broadcasting Annual Compliance Report 2022
- Public Service Broadcasting Annual Compliance Report 2021
- Public Service Broadcasting Annual Compliance Report 2020
- Public Service Broadcasting Annual Compliance Report 2019
Older reports are available via the National Archives.