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 provide info about how the television public service broadcasters are performing in terms of delivering PSB.
We 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. The full report and videos highlighting some of the observations from our interviews and focus groups are available below.
We have also published a quantitative report and the data tables focusing on the perceived personal and societal benefits of PSB. This is part of our ongoing research and took place before the Covid-19 UK lockdown.
On 27 February, 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.
Both publications and supporting data are designed to help inform our wider programme of work on the future of PSB – Small Screen: Big Debate. This a different approach from our previous PSB reviews. Its purpose is to provoke a broad and dynamic national conversation involving viewers, the broadcasting industry, Parliament, and regulators about how the benefits of PSB might best be assured for the future.
A new website was launched to support this debate – www.smallscreenbigdebate.co.uk. This provides easy access to all Ofcom and third-party research, and other materials relevant to our national conversation about the future of PSB. The site provides an opportunity for people to join the conversation and share their personal views to help inform our consultation in the summer.
On 4 July 2019, we published a document signalling our future approach to the regulation of public service broadcasters in the digital age. This considers how PSB might be defined, delivered and discovered in future, prioritising the audience’s perspective. See The future of Public Service Media (PDF, 145.7 KB).
On 8 March 2018, we published a document that sets out the challenges facing the PSB system in the context of greater online media consumption and competition from new global players. See Public service broadcasting in the digital age: Supporting PSB for the next decade and beyond (PDF, 383.6 KB).
On the same day Ofcom Chief Executive Sharon White gave a speech on this topic, which is available to read in full.