.. ver increasing influx of new independent radio stations like Virgin 1215 and Talk Radio have challenged the BBCs long time monopoly. The BBC itself introduced Radio5, then re-launched it to become a 24 hour news and sports station called Radio Five Live. The advance of technology in the last ten years has brought the British public more choice. Sky and Cable broadcasting companies have been offering a wider range of programmes on and anything, Originally un-regulated the massive scale of choice brought new sources of entertainment.
As in 1937 when the FA Cup final was first broadcast on radio, the Cricket World Cup of 1992 was exclusive to Sky Sports causing major increases in sales. Terrestrial television has changed in many ways since its introduction in the 1950s, two channels has become five and the quality of programming has improved a great deal. John Reiths initial public service ethos as discussed earlier created a base for broadcastings future, future that is until now. The introduction of digital television will eventually see a change in Public Service Broadcasting but not the end. Digital has brought its doubters and sceptics but surely this change will be good for the audience, but will its be good for the BBC ? The new ideal for Public Service Broadcasting that enters the new millennium is similar to a large menu. Unlike the old Reithian values set out at the beginning where an audience was given a service that was selected for them, the paying viewer can select a specific programme or genre of their choice at any time. Therefore broadcasting becomes a different type of public service, creating a pay per view system which offers a world wide choice.
ONDigtals new pay per view system is the first in Britain. Chief Executive Stephen Grabiner claims, “Our research shows there is a high dissatisfaction with existing pay TV operators. We know people want more choice and they are prepared to pay for it, but they also want to be valued.” (GRABINER, www.itn.co.uk, 17/02/99) The standard of programming however can then be open to question as more channel availability can create a lack of quality. This lack of quality is where the BBC can succeed where others might fail. The BBC throughout its 77 year history has been committed to Public Service, its role as digital broadcaster is one that can safeguard national culture by expressing a range of British talent across a world wide stage as well as a UK one. It can encourage diversity by bringing a range of new services and an extended choice in greater depth. The most important way it can offer quality is by its unique way of being funded, the licence fee is mandatory for television ownership therefore its annual intake is guaranteed.
When cable and satellite originally emerged, there was a worry regarding a lack of programming quality. The more new choice available to the viewers, the more the audience will decline for existing broadcasters. In January 1999 35.8% of all television viewing belonged to satellite and cable, the BBC making up 28.7% and ITV a further 25.2% Another factor that accounts for some of the loss audience is the renewed popularity of films on video. New films until recently have been available quicker on video than they are on Sky, Cable or terrestrial. Skys new offering , Sky Box Office advertises the very latest movies on demand the first of its kind in the UK will have an effect at not only reducing terrestrial audience but also on Cinema audiences too. In the Broadcasting Bill of 1990 the IBA was replaced with the Independent Television Commission (ITC). As Cable and Satellite grew the alarm bells rang with a worry about lack of quality programming.
The ITCs new role of licensing body and regulator covered all non BBC channels meaning the new companies would not get away with broadcasting anything. It differed from its predecessor in that it will not be the broadcaster or publisher of programmes. The future brought greater competition for the commercial television stations. The ITC is required to issue a licence to prospective broadcasters and it is then up to them to meet the guidelines set for them. As entertainment becomes easier to obtain, changes in viewing patterns increase with more choice on offer to the viewer.
An effect of Satellite television is the death of family viewing which is more often in middle class families who can afford more than one television. Instead of arguing about what to watch, the father and son watch the football in one room whilst the mother is in the kitchen watching anything but. This is one of the first examples of splitting up an audience, when BSkyB bought the rights to the Premiership in 1992 it meant that when a viewer wanted to watch football they could originally only see it in one room therefore people who didnt had to go somewhere else to watch their programme. Originally there was uproar about taking football off terrestrial television and making people pay extra. In order to gain more viewers Murdochs company had to front up big cash in order for the clubs to buy decent players and therefore making the coverage worth paying for. This was a great launching pad for Murdochs company. Football has since returned to terrestrial television as ITV have bought rights to the FA Cup and the European Champions League. Freedom of choice can mean lack of schedule which can ultimately threaten the terrestrial television viewer.
The BBC has in the past ten years lost many of its monopolies on sporting events. Domestic league football, Boxing, Ryder Cup Golf and recently Test Match Cricket have all been snapped up by BSkyB. BSkyB having many specific channels is open to moving sporting events to midweek or to the evening during terrestrial prime time. Viewing Patterns ultimately become scattered, if you wanted to catch Eastenders on a Monday night, but also now with more choice available you wanted to catch Manchester United on Sky Digital. Something would have to give, therefore if you video Eastenders you can watch it later or not at all.
A recent article in a newspaper has warned the BBC to start making more quality dramas and documentaries rather than cheap quiz shows. However it seems that the BBC has shot itself in the foot by not using licence payers money to invest in keeping national sporting events which are surely in the public interest. Maybe if they had done this they would not need to produce cheap quiz shows to fill time. More choice will increasingly affect the way we run our lives. Hurrying home from work to watch a certain programme or going to the pub on Saturday night has been occurring for a long time, but it may not continue.
Match of the Day is not the only place you can see Premiership football now. The introduction of the video recorder saw the downfall of programme scheduling and on commercial channels, advertising. If the show is on video it is preferable to fast forward during the advert breaks meaning they are subsequently ignored. This however causes the adverts to be shown again more often on other channels eventually meaning that the advert w8ill reach the viewer. As we move into the millennium we are becoming ever increasingly dependent on computers. A digital television picture is an additional component to our everyday PC, it is offering us a new facility for our computers but it is also updating our televisions by turning them into computers.
Our 21st century technological wizardry is trying to make our lives as easy as possible by letting the viewer do everything from the touch of a button in front of a large screen that used to be called a television. John Reiths initial Public Service Broadcasting idea has moved on in time. Firstly it was changed when ITV was introduced, since then it has been reformed with the introduction of the ITC and is now in touch with societies needs. Reith ruled the BBC in those early days with an Iron Fist a lot like Rupert Murdoch has ruled his BSkyB company, though a quest for world media domination was not what Reith had in mind. Public Service Broadcasting has moved with the times, but the advent of new technology and better services is the main reason behind changes in viewing patterns. Viewers can now watch many different things at the same time, one persons idea of entertainment is now more likely to be different to another, Digital Broadcasting solves this problem by giving something more.
Bibliography; Books ASA BERGER, Arthur 1998 Media Analysis Techniques 2nd Edition London; Sage CURRAN, James 1997 Power Without Responsibility SEATON, Jean London; Routledge FISKE, John 1997 Television Culture London; Routledge LEWIS, Lisa. A 1992 The Adoring Audience London; Routledge NEGRINE, Ralph 1992 Politics and the Mass Media London; Routledge OSULLIVAN, Tim 1994 Key Concepts in Communication Studies London; Routledge PRICE, Stuart 1993 Media Studies Harlow; Longman STRINATI, Dominic 1992 Popular Media Culture London; Routledge TULLOCH, Sarah 1996 Complete Word Finder Oxford; Readers Digest Websites BBC Digital http://www.bbc.co.uk Pay TV Company British Digital Broadcasting.. http://www.itn.co.uk/business/bus http://www.sky.co.uk Periodicals Put Quality 1st, Smith to warn BBC Daily Mail – Monday 12 April 1999 Sky Facts 1999 British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC.