service public

In Switzerland and other countries, the audiovisual information and entertainment programs of public broadcasters have been regarded as the core of the "public service", which had to make a democratically and socio-politically relevant contribution to information, debate, cultural development and integration. To a limited extent, Swiss law also assigns such a performance mandate to licensed local-regional private broadcasters.
The emergence of various online media and the accompanying change in media usage behavior, especially among younger target groups, have led broad sections of the population and politicians to question the fee-based financing model and the organizational model of the public service, which is based on social participation and integration. This problem is likely to intensify if public broadcasting organizations and private broadcasters with a performance mandate do not succeed in adapting their audiovisual programming to the needs of the younger target group, i.e., the upcoming generation, in the future.
Against this backdrop, the project examines, on the one hand, the usage modalities, preferences and attitudes of the younger target groups in times of an increasingly online, mobile and non-linear media world. On the other hand, it analyzes which existing and newly developed formats offer the potential as democracy-relevant audiovisual program innovations that are adapted to the new usage behavior of the younger audience and meet with their acceptance.
Such innovative audiovisual formats often require different production processes. Consequently, the question arises as to which changed organizational forms and workflows are needed for their implementation. The findings will be used to develop proposals for the transformation of public and private media organizations that want to, should or must fulfill a journalistic performance mandate.
A multi-stage procedure is planned to implement this research project:
1.) Analysis of (audiovisual) media usage behavior based on a secondary analysis of existing usage data as well as a representative, quantitative survey on a) (audiovisual) media usage and b) attitudes toward public service offerings in the 14-35 age group in order to newly survey usage modalities that have not been available systematically and in depth to date;
2.) Analysis of innovative audiovisual formats relevant to democracy (best practice examples) and the associated strategies, organizational forms and production processes at public and private broadcasting companies in Germany and abroad (SRG; fee-financed local regional stations; foreign public and private stations in Europe);
3.) Conducting discussions with younger people (ages 14-35) to validate the survey and elicit attitudes and preferences of young target groups towards public broadcasting;
4.) Developing proposals for the transformation of public broadcasting and private broadcasting services with journalistic objectives for the future based on the data collected. This also includes external validation of the proposals in roundtables with domestic and foreign experts;
5.) Theoretically based continuation of the debate conducted in public.
On the significance and topicality of the project: the analysis of the audience needs of young target groups allows the "mindset" of the 'young' generation, which is increasingly difficult to reach for public broadcasting organizations and private broadcasting organizations with service-public offerings, to be examined on an empirical basis. In combination with the analysis of audiovisual formats relevant to democracy, it is possible to show what the audiovisual offering of public broadcasting lacks compared to new online offerings such as YouTube, YouNow, or private TV providers and what possibilities there would be to integrate such new forms at SRG SSR or other providers with a performance mandate and, in particular, to maintain public broadcasting's hitherto essential role for democratic society. In 2018, there will be an intensification of the political debate on the future of the public service in Switzerland due to the expected vote on the abolition of the broadcasting/household fee (No-Billag vote). The project makes a substantial contribution of clarification in the expected media policy debate.