What about public media organizations in other countries, like the British Broadcasting Corporation? What will their future be like?
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) along with other public media organizations in other countries, is funded differently than the predominantly American news companies we have discussed so far. Even public media in the United States is quite different from the BBC. We already noted how little money the United States spends on publicly funded journalism in comparison to other nations. But even the wealthiest, most powerful public service broadcasters are vulnerable to larger changes in journalism. Take the BBC, for instance. 96% of Britons help subsidize the BBC through their annual service fee, a tax that every British household with television service is obliged to pay, which makes the network of stations and websites run by the BBC both uniquely important and uniquely subject to political pressures. Conservative politicians have long decried the service fee as an anathema and a regressive tax on the public. And the directors and CEOs of other media outlets in the UK have complained that the power of the BBC gives it an unfair advantage in the emerging marketplace of digital news—it's hard to compete with the BBC online, in other words.
The BBC charter is up for renewal in 2016, which means that politicians and media figures will be debating its future intently. Some of the items up for debate include: Should the BBC produce entertainment programming or focus more on its core mission? Should the license fee be eliminated or modified? How should the corporation be governed and regulated? The BBC is a major producer of news both in the United Kingdom and in the English-speaking world, and the debate over its future is likely to have a major impact on the future of journalism, even in the United States.