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New media heralds age of participation

Ofcom sets out the plan
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

Ofcom sets out the plan

Ofcom has proposed the creation of a new media organisation aimed at meeting public service needs as digital content becomes increasingly powerful.

The Public Service Publisher (PSP) would commission and possibly produce new media content to fulfil the changing requirements of media consumers.

Ofcom says audiences could reuse PSP content and have the opportunity to respond to media much more than they currently are able to do with public service broadcasters (PSB). Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards recently said this sort of participation is a "central feature of basic human needs".

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The PSP would focus on shifting to a more interactive relationship with media audiences, which is now possible thanks to the growth of internet-based and mobile technologies. One possibility would be for new media to drive community activity through location-based content and collaboration.

Ofcom says the publisher could be a completely new organisation or be linked to one of the existing PSBs. It could also be based outside London to reflect the "diversity of viewpoints" in the UK and encourage a wider spread of investment in digital media.

With the relatively low cost of producing new media content, Ofcom predicts the PSP could make an initial impact with an annual budget of between £50m and £100m.

Ofcom is inviting responses about the PSP until 23 March, with the ideas received during this period forming the basis of the next PSB review in 2008.

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