Do public television channels provide more diversity than private ones?

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Since early 2009 there has been no advertising on French public television channels after 8 p.m. One of the arguments in favour of this reform was that it would promote diversity and that public channels would be less tempted to broadcast homogeneous programming to generate greater advertising revenue.
Based on a comparison between British, French and Turkish channels the aim of this paper is to determine whether public channels perform better in terms of diversity than private ones. The paper recalls the reasons why public television channels should differentiate themselves from their private counterparts as far as diversity is concerned. A methodology for assessing diversity, which includes a set of indexes for measuring diversity of programming as well as tools for assessing disparity, is then proposed. Earlier literature finds that public television channels are more diverse than and significantly distinct from their private counterparts.
In this exploratory study we will show that, contrary to the literature, public channels have no clear advantage in terms of diversity. Competitive pressure aimed at maximizing viewership plays a role for all channels regardless of their mode of funding, thus leading to greater homogeneity of programming.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-63
Number of pages14
JournalENCATC Journal of Cultural Management and Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Advertising
  • Public broadcasting
  • Television
  • Diversity
  • Distinctiveness


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