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Public Broadcasters Need New Business Models to Stay Relevant as the Shift to Digital Transforms the Media World

New Research by The Boston Consulting Group Urges Public Broadcasters to Expand More Aggressively Into Digital Platforms and Become "Integrated Cross-Media Organizations"

VIENNA, AUSTRIA -- (Marketwired) -- 12/09/13 -- Many public-broadcasting companies should transform their business models to remain relevant as audiences and advertising budgets increasingly shift to digitally streamed video and audio, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report "Preparing for Public Broadcasting's Perfect Storm: Staying Relevant in a World of Nonlinear Media" was released today.

The report recommends that public service broadcasters (PSBs) become integrated providers of high-quality content across all media channels while still fulfilling their public-service mandates. It does not advocate that PSBs pull out of their traditional business of broadcasting TV and radio programs nationally and regionally. Rather, it calls for PSBs to focus on delivering more high-quality content on "nonlinear," on-demand digital platforms delivered through PCs and mobile devices.

The report also recommends that PSBs become more sophisticated at tracking the media consumption habits of their target audiences and the economics of delivering content across all media platforms.

"The revolutionary changes in the media landscape that are being driven by digitization and shifting consumer habits are accelerating -- and that adds up to a perfect storm for public broadcasters," said Antonella Mei-Pochtler, a BCG senior partner and coauthor of the report. "They urgently need a strategy to adapt to the new always-on, borderless, and fast-paced digital world."

Adapting to the new landscape is especially challenging for PSBs, which thus far have been slow to offer digital video and audio content. PSBs cannot match the financial and technological power of well-capitalized global players such as Google, Netflix, and Apple, which are pioneering the so-called nonlinear services that allow people to access virtually any kind of video or audio continent on demand -- including programming that was long available only on public stations.

As the corporate heavyweights engage in the fight for exclusive content, the pressure on traditional providers is mounting. PSBs have found it difficult to increase funding from traditional sources, such as governments, license fees by viewers, and advertising. Many PSBs must also operate under regulatory frameworks that restrict the kinds of programming they can offer, their ability to offer digital content, and their advertising options.

Nevertheless, public broadcasters still have a number of advantages, such as high levels of public trust and a strong following -- especially among older viewers -- that is likely to remain loyal to TV and radio for decades to come. "The good news is that PSBs still have a number of valuable assets that can enable them not only to remain relevant but also to change the game," said Tibor von Merey, a BCG consultant and a coauthor.

To remain financially sustainable over the long term, PSBs must continue to cut costs in noncore areas, work with regulators to update their mandates, and gain wider latitude to develop a business model to fit the new digital realities, according to the report.

To gain deeper understanding of how their target audiences consume content across all media platforms throughout the day, the report recommends that PSBs adopt a new metric called "media touchpoints." BCG defines a media touchpoint as one contact with any media platform during a 30-minute period.

"Establishing a comprehensive media-touchpoint-tracking system can generate new insights into what makes content relevant to target audiences," said Mei-Pochtler. "Armed with this kind of intelligence -- and by transforming their organizations -- PSBs can successfully transition into the digital age."

A copy of the report can be downloaded at www.bcgperspectives.com.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or gregoire.eric@bcg.com.

About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 78 offices in 43 countries. For more information, please visit bcg.com.

About bcgperspectives.com
Bcgperspectives.com features the latest thinking from BCG experts as well as from CEOs, academics, and other leaders. It covers issues at the top of senior management's agenda. It also provides unprecedented access to BCG's extensive archive of thought leadership stretching back 50 years to the days of Bruce Henderson, the firm's founder and one of the architects of modern management consulting. All of our content -- including videos, podcasts, commentaries, and reports -- can be accessed by PC, mobile, iPad, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The Boston Consulting Group
Eric Gregoire
Global Media Relations Manager

Tel +1 617 850 3783
Fax +1 617 850 3701
gregoire.eric@bcg.com

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