Communications watchdog Ofcom is launching a review into public service broadcasting, which could see an increased role for content delivered over the internet or via mobile phones.
With digital switchover approaching rapidly and traditional terrestrial channels facing declining viewing figures, Ofcom will explore whether the public service broadcasting (PSB) remit could be met through the internet.
Ofcom said in a statement: "The distinctions between content broadcast on traditional television and those delivered on new platforms are increasingly blurred. So there is potential for these new services to offer public service content."
The review will include non-traditional services offered by the existing public service broadcasters on other platforms, and the prospects for other broadcasters and online producers to deliver content that meets public purposes.
PSB has a number of purposes, such as informing viewers, stimulating knowledge and learning and representing diversity and alternative viewpoints.
Since the last review in 2005, viewing habits have changed rapidly, with the biggest change in the 16- to 24-year-old age group, which have been switching off TV in favour of viewing content via the internet.
Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said in a statement: "The way PSB is delivered and consumed is changing radically. The potential for new services to deliver public service content beyond traditional television is already here, and should be exploited."
The review is expected to conclude in early 2009.