The BBC and public value

Collins, Richard (2007). The BBC and public value. Medien und Kommunikationswissenschaft, 65(2) pp. 164–184.




The paper identifies the roots of ‘public value’ management in the work of the American scholar Mark Moore, describes its mediation to the UK and its adoption by the BBC as a
regulatory as well as a management doctrine. The author proposes that the BBC’s adoption of public value doctrine responds to critiques of the BBC’s divergence from public
service principles in its broadcasting practice and to the challenges of the contemporaneous review of the BBC’s Charter. The paper describes the Work Foundation’s public value model of authorisation, creation and measurement of public value and its application to the BBC. It evaluates the concepts of co-production and contestation (derived from
Mark Moore) and reach, impact, quality and value for money (the four public value ‘drivers’ adopted by the BBC) and considers Hirschman’s ‘exit, voice and loyalty’ model of institutional responsiveness to users and the applicability of the concepts ‘consumer’ and citizen’ to the BBC’s public value doctrine and practice. The paper concludes that the Moorean core concepts ‘co-production’ and ‘contestation’ are of limited applicability to the BBC and that the BBC’s distinctive status and scale may limit the relevance of its pathbreaking implementation of public value management to other parts of the UK’s public cultural sector.

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