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The Importance of Trust for Public Broadcasters

We're now in the final session of ANZCA 2009, which starts with a paper by Mary Debrett. Her interest is in the politics of accountability and risk-taking at the ABC, and she begins with some reflections on the social value of trust - it serves as social glue, generates social capital, manages social complexity, acts as a solution for risk, and is a prerequisite for forming self-identity. Trust and authority are constantly being raised, invoking active trust in which trust is always contingent.

Trust is an especially important point of difference for public service broadcasters , of course - they need to be seen as independent from vested interests, as delivering fair and independent news, reflecting national culture and identity, serving diversity through representing minority voices, and adressing audences not served by commercial media. Public broadcasters position themselves as trusted brands in the media landscape.

Opportunities for the ABC Online

The next presenter at ANZCA 2009 is Toija Cinque, who continues the discussion especially of public broadcasting in the online environment. The Net increases the diversity of information available to inform the citizenry, of course - but public broadcasters continue to be bound also by their charters and need to adddress their obligations.

Journalism is now becoming more a process than a product, and this provides journalists with less and less time to ascertain what is true and significant. This may mean that the public now gets more pure opinion than factual detail - and crowdsourcing information from users only adds more problems with fact-checking to this process. This also pertains to the use of hyperlinks on news Websites, of course - one reason why still so few mainstream news Websites link to information outside of their own sites (in addition to the desire not to provide easy avenues for users to leave the news organisation's own site).

The Changing Role of Talent Agencies as Global Entertainment Intermediaries

Susan Ward is the next ANZCA 2009 speaker, and focusses on talent agencies - she begins by distinguishing between internationalisation (trans-border flows of goods and services) and globalisation (the creation of global audiences, and global forms of organisation and a global functional integration of processes). This is visible especially in the context of international trade fairs, which are used to conduct business transactions, disseminate market intelligence, facilitate networking, promote an awareness of industry innovations, establish the identities of participants,and promote common assumptions and a common business culture.

Building Social Capital by Bittorrenting Family Guy

The next session at ANZCA 2009 starts with Lelia Green, presenting on the practices of a small affinity group (a LAN clan) of year 11-12 students in suburban Perth. None of these young men could quantify what amount of time they spent online each day; they used the Net extensively during their non-school time, at any rate. The study focussed especially on the use of Bittorrent, which was invented in 2002 and has been especially used for sharing movie and television content. Bittorrent use becomes more effective the more users are sharing the same file, of course, and there were some 4 million users online at any one point by 2006. By February 2009, some 160 million users had downloaded Bittorrent softwares.

Future Directions for SBS

The next session at ANZCA 2009 is a panel session discussing the future role of public service broadcasting, focussing on Australia's multicultural broadcaster SBS. This is introduced by my colleague Terry Flew, who notes that SBS is a distinctively different type of public broadcaster, making a very specific contribution to multiculturalism and citizenship.

The first panellist to speak is Stuart Cunningham from the CCi. If SBS had to be invented today, he says, it wouldn't be - today's media environment is fundamentally different from that of the 1970s and 1980s from which it emerged, and today there is a plethora of media channels available to citizens. Additionally, the role of public broadcasters has changed fundamentally - the culture wars of the past decades render a government intervention for the development of a public broadcaster to promote multiculturalism inconceivable today. Protection and projection of public culture is no longer an unproblematic public goal.

Editorial Independence versus Product Placement

The next speaker at Alcatel-Lucent Foundation / HBI 2009 is Volker Lilienthal, Augstein Foundation Professor at the University of Hamburg. He notes the reception theory-based definition of quality which Rainer Esser highlighted in the previous presentation, but himself continues with a production theory-based definition, which holds that journalists can also produce quality journalism even if their audience is no longer interested in such content.

Product placement, he notes, may be acceptable if editorial independence remain unaffected. But how can this work in a concrete case - editors and journalists, after all, are employees of their organisations, and are unlikely to be entirely independent from their economic agendas. Journalists must try, though, to make clear decisions about what content is relevant, what audiences should be confronted with, and what content is merely a result of particular business or other interests.

Rules for Product Placement under German Law

Stefan Engels from legal firm Lovells LLP is the next speaker at Alcatel-Lucent Foundation / HBI 2009. He outlines the new rules for product placement, but begins by outlining again the indepence of publication processes, the protection of informed recipients, the need for neutrality of the media in the free market, as the three key drivers of the separation of advertising and content which is required of all edited media under German law.

New rules from the European Union, in December 2007, and their implementation under German law which is proceeding with current draft legislation and must be completed by the end of 2009, allow the possibility of loosening these separation requirements, but do not require changes.

The Need to Separate Advertising and Content as a Fundamental Principle of German Society

We move on to the post-lunch session at Alcatel-Lucent Foundation / HBI 2009, which opens with an introduction by Wolfgang Schulz, Director of the Hans-Bredow-Institut where I'm currently based. He notes the legal problems with the integration of advertising into programming (as product placement, or in related forms). Traditionally, German law requires a clear separation of advertising and programme content; do changes in advertising principles weaken this separation, or can it be upheld?

Product Placement in Practice, in Germany

Marc Schwieger's talk at Alcatel-Lucent Foundation / HBI 2009 is followed by a panel discussion with Marc, Martin Hoffmann from MME Moviement, and Martin Krapf from IP Germany. Krapf begins by noting that even the $70m in product placement advertising in James Bond movies remain a small component of all advertising; this is no revolution in advertising yet. While product placement will certainly grow, conventional advertising will continue to be the leading form. Indeed, product placement is most effective when combined with conventional advertising.

The Future of Product Placement

The first speaker at the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation / HBI conference is Marc Schwieger from advertising agency Scholz & Friends. He, too, picks up the product placement theme: products, of course, are everywhere in everyday life, too, so telling stories from real life is difficult without showing the products that are part of it. Some 49% of Germans find product placement annoying; this is less than the 63% who dislike conventional ads. Placed products are also recalled effectively - but do comparatively little to encourage users to buy those products.


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