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Ofcom kicks off PSB review

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Ofcom kicks off PSB review
The media regulator Ofcom has outlined its terms of reference for its second review of public service broadcasting (PSB).

The review, which begins now and runs until early 2009, will consider the extent to which the PSBs - the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five - have fulfilled the purposes of public service television broadcasting, and "make recommendations with a view to maintaining and strengthening the quality of PSB in the future."

As well as content, the review will also look at delivery, in view of the increase in new media broadcast platforms such as broadband TV, IPTV, video-on-demand and mobile TV.

A statement from Ofcom said the review would consider "how the growth of new ways of delivering content to consumers and citizens might create new opportunities for achieving the goals of public service broadcasting, as well as posing new challenges."

Funding of the PSBs is also a focus of the review, with Ofcom stating it will "assess future options for funding, delivering and regulating public service broadcasting" and look at the "uncertainty about the sustainability of existing funding models."

The deadline for responses to the scope of the review, and its terms of reference, is September 30.

The first PSB review, which was conducted between 2003 and 2005, concluded that "existing commercial funding models for public service broadcasting would become unsustainable after digital switchover."

This was also reported in Ofcom's review of Channel 4's funding earlier this year, which showed the broadcaster was likely to face increased financial pressures in the medium-term that could constrain its ability to deliver its public service remit.

In June, Tessa Jowell, then Media Secretary, pledged an extra £14 million to help Channel 4 meet the costs of digital switchover.

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