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European Public TV income now in steady decline

The BBC Charter is due to expire at the end of 2016 and the consultation around its renewal has prompted a debate in the UK about the future of public service broadcasting. The role fulfilled by public broadcasters is under scrutiny in many markets across Europe, and additional governmental funding has been slow to materialise. As a consequence, while income for public broadcasting continues to grow in absolute terms in Europe, adjusting for inflation reveals that the sector has entered a period of sustained decline. This is a contrast to the TV advertising market, which is stable in real terms (albeit below pre-financial crisis levels), and the pay TV market, which despite challenges from online video, continues to grow in both nominal and real terms. The consequence of the funding decline will be to place further pressure on the output of public broadcasters in the region, and affect their ongoing ability to match commercial ad-funded and subscription-funded peers - an issue which will no doubt fuel additional debate about the purpose of public TV in Europe.