How Will the BBC and PBS Transform Themselves in the Emerging Era of Online, On-Demand Media?

Thursday, March 30th, 2006
12:30 - 2 p.m. (light refreshments will be provided)

New America Foundation
1630 Connecticut Avenue, NW 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20009

Featured Speakers:

David Levy
Controller, Public Policy, BBC
Author, Digital Revolution: Broadcasting Regulation, the EU and the Nation State

John Wilson
Senior Vice President & Chief Program Executive, PBS

Dennis Haarsager
General Manager, KWSU/KTNW Television and Northwest Public Radio
Chair, Public Service Publisher Initiative

Michael Calabrese
Vice President & Director, Wireless Future Program, New America Foundation

As the era of broadcasting as a primarily scheduled and one-way service fades to black, public broadcasting both here and abroad will need to transform itself to keep pace with commercial media. As the public becomes accustomed to consuming video anytime and anyplace—including in bite-size segments on mobile wireless devices 24/7—traditional broadcasting will be eclipsed by a wide variety of new digital media formats and distribution platforms.

Our distinguished panel will offer unique insights into the opportunities and challenges presented by this historic transformation in the U.K. and the U.S.

David Levy, who directs public policy for the BBC, has been at the center of the system’s Royal Charter Review. He will describe the government’s long-term vision, described in a White Paper presented to Parliament this month by the Minister of Culture, Media and Sport, entitled: “A Public Service for All: The BBC in the Digital Age.” Dr. Levy will share the results of the recently-completed BBC test of an online, on-demand video service—and it’s potential for expanding public access to public media.

John Wilson and Dennis Haarsager will contrast the BBC’s plans with the digital transformation underway here in the U.S.—including experiments with innovative new distribution platforms. In December, a report by the Digital Future Initiative—a bipartisan panel initiated by PBS and co-chaired by former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale—recommended the creation of a public service media ‘web engine’ to facilitate access to a very broad range of non-commercial multimedia content. Such a system would have particular benefit for education, facilitating access by students, parents and teachers to high-quality multimedia educational content. Dr. Haarsager has led a group of public TV and radio stations in launching a prototype online portal for public media content, the Public Service Publisher. He will describe PSP’s results after nearly one year in operation.

RSVP to New America Foundation’s Communications Department at [email protected] with name, affiliation, and contact information. Please specify the name of the event. If you have questions, call or email Naveen Lakshmipathy at (202) 986-2700 or [email protected].