What would we lose if we didn't have public media in Catalonia?

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Since 1983, ‘Televisió de Catalunya’ (the Catalan Public TV Broadcaster) has played, together with ‘Catalunya Ràdio’ (the Catalan Public Radio Broadcaster), a crucial role in our country’s cultural and linguistic normalisation process. For this reason, ‘Televisió de Catalunya’ is the main communication medium in Catalonia today. Throughout these years, the Catalan television broadcaster has followed the national public television’s model in Europe and has developed a multichannel and multiplatform supply serving all audience and age groups with quality programmes in Catalan: the general-interest channel ‘TV3’; the cultural ‘33’; the children’s and youngster’s ‘Super3/3XL’; the information channel ‘3/24’; the sports ‘Esport3’; the high definition broadcast ‘TV3 HD’; and our international channel ‘TV3CAT’. This is combined with broadcasts on other platforms with exclusive content via web portals ‘tv3.cat’, ‘3cat24.cat’, ‘Esport3.cat’, Super3.cat’ and through applications on TV, consoles, tablets and Internet mobile phones.

In the context of a multiplication of channels and platforms, which are mostly in Spanish, Catalonia's public television has managed to achieve a majority and highly-valued social impact: it leads both qualitative and quantitative audience rankings; it is an engine of the audiovisual industry; it promotes talent and innovation across small, medium and large companies; it fosters cultural industries –cinema, documentary, animation–; it gives visibility to their work; and it is a way to express our traditional and emerging culture. This intense activity sets TV3 as the main creator of prestigious shared references, as a tool for social cohesion and for transferring constructive values, through quality-standard criteria and an ethical and plural rigour. TV3 has also a strong capacity for mobilising people and for raising collective awareness.

The Catalan public TV is also a mirror reflecting a socio-political, economic, cultural and geographic reality that, without its own power, would be irrelevant and in many cases unknown. For this reason, TV3’s role is crucial as a way for the Catalan industry to express itself through TV3’s economic content and advertising sales – a key element of a mixed funding system, which in this case guarantees both the public television’s viability and the local industry’s visibility.

In the current context of reviewing public media models in Europe – mainly pushed by a private sector which is itself essentially moved by economic and individual interests – it is important to emphasise all this activity, which is derived from the audiovisual public service’s work: both tangible and intangible; quantifiable as well as subjectively evaluated; and inbuilt from TV3’s beginnings as well as born from the new audiovisual context. It is essential not to get the diagnosis wrong and give some value –not only in economic or quantitative terms – to the public media’s role: the service to society.

Mònica Terribas
Director of the Catalan Public TV Broadcaster

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