The commercial public service broadcasters (PSBs) in the United Kingdom (UK) make a significant contribution to the country’s public service television system, alongside the BBC. Operating under the UK communications regulator Ofcom, the commercial PSB channels ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5 are required to broadcast varying levels of public service content. This places these channels in a different category to all other market broadcasters in the UK. By taking a critical political economy of communication approach, this article examines how the regulatory system functions to secure public service provision in television. A particular focus is placed on the first-run originations quotas, which govern the levels of programming that are originally produced or commissioned by a commercial PSB, and broadcast for the first time in the UK. It is argued that while fulfilling the public service remit, the commercial PSBs gain significant benefits that contribute to the underpinning of their business models.
- Public service television
- Media regulation
- Media policy
- Political economy of communication
- Commercial Public service broadcasting.