Successful Television Management: the Hybrid Approach

by Suzana Žilic Fišer (Author)
©2015 Monographs 169 Pages


This book explores a hybrid model of broadcasting and takes a close look at public TV broadcasting operating in a market-driven environment. While media and media institutions play an important role in democratic societies, their management is a complex process and has to coordinate the various demands of the public, the owners, advertisers and society. Managing media institutions also has to take into account technological developments, changes in the regulatory framework and social trends. Whereas media performance reflects social developments, their management often represents catching the uncatchable: providing for the public good and offering attractive market products.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Foreword
  • 1. Introduction
  • Objectives of the Study
  • Why a case study of a hybrid model of broadcasting
  • 2. Media Organization in Society
  • Mass Media
  • Functions of the media
  • Public interest in all media
  • Media institutions
  • Performance of media policy
  • Broadcasting and aspects of the study
  • Complementary role of public-service broadcasters
  • 3. Management of Media Organization
  • Modern theories on the organization’s management
  • Success of media organization
  • Management of public sector
  • Public versus private sector
  • Media organization
  • Dilemmas of broadcasting policy
  • Management of a public service broadcaster
  • 4. Broadcasting Systems
  • Commercial dependency and light-touch state regulation in the US
  • Commercial TV stations
  • Public broadcasting service in the US
  • European dual broadcasting system
  • Commercial broadcasters
  • Public-service broadcasters
  • Trends in the dual broadcasting system
  • TV system in the UK
  • BBC as an incumbent public service broadcaster
  • Commercial television
  • Hybrid broadcasting model
  • Unique identity of Channel 4 in the British media market
  • Independent production companies
  • 5. Evaluating the Performance of Media Organizations
  • Public support for public television
  • Assessment of the broadcasting service operation
  • Traditional criteria for a broadcaster’s success
  • The role and significance of economic criteria for performance effectiveness
  • Criteria for studying performance effectivity of commercial broadcasters
  • Criteria for studying performance effectivity of public service broadcasters
  • Common economic criteria for studying performance effectivity of public and commercial media
  • 6. Analysis of the Management of a Hybrid TV Model
  • Political criteria versus economic criteria
  • Political criteria
  • Programme strategy of Channel 4 based on political criteria
  • Economic criteria
  • Market-share criteria
  • Management strategies according to market-share criteria
  • Criteria of productivity
  • Management strategies according to criteria of productivity
  • Financial criteria
  • Management strategies according to financial criteria
  • Management criteria
  • Management strategies according to management criteria
  • The positioning of Channel 4 in the British media market
  • Channel 4’s environmental context
  • 7. Applicability of Management Methods of a Hybrid Broadcasting Model
  • Useful approaches in media management
  • Applicability of a hybrid-broadcasting model to RTV Slovenia
  • Public broadcasting service RTV Slovenia
  • Modern management approaches for RTV Slovenija
  • Context of the public service RTV Slovenija
  • 8. Conclusion
  • Summary
  • Enclosures
  • Literature
  • Tables and Figures

← 8 | 9 → Foreword

Media have been following and co-shaping social changes since their beginning. With social development, many typical platforms of the last century are becoming obsolete and irrelevant. New media in different forms bring different experiences to the users, which affect production in both traditional and modern media organizations. Advanced consumption of media products imposes new obligations on media organizations and requires additional parameters for the analysis of media institutions facing dynamic media market competition. This book is a sequel to the book Broadcasting Management (Suzana Žilič Fišer, 2007) in which different suppositions and experience of previous studies aim to apply to various media. The book explores a hybrid model of broadcasting in terms of the setting of research parameters and implementation of modern managerial practices, which are suggested as relevant also for the public TV broadcasting stations operating in a market-driven environment. RTV Slovenija is a public TV broadcasting service that exercises the mission of public good. At the same time, it also operates in the media market earning a large share of revenues by advertising. Coordination between the public and economic interests is the key managerial practice used by the public TV broadcasting service.

Changes in society are also transforming the role of social institutions. Media and media institutions most certainly play an important role in democratic society. Due to their dynamic nature, they are forced to coordinate various demands by the public, owners, advertisers and the society. That is why their management has become an extremely complex process. Achieving successful operation requires taking account of different interests, technological development, changes in the regulatory framework and social trends. Media performance reflects social developments, while their management often represents catching of the uncatchable: providing for the public good and offering attractive market products. This book asks several questions and faces many dilemmas. However, it also shows ways how to realize such a complex managerial process and objectives, for the good of all stakeholders. Proof that media can play a positive role also in the market-driven environment can be found in some relevant findings from the field of media, public TV broadcasters, media structure, management and examples of good management practices in electronic media organizations that are presented in this study. However, when looking for successful solutions, it is crucial to be aware of all the traps set by offering either long-term programme contents or merely explicit commercial contents.

← 9 | 10 → In collecting material and writing this book, the author focused on the essence of media performance revealed not only by academic research but also by practical experience in media production. Equipped with experience in Slovenian media production, the author also attentively followed surveys on the British media environment. Colleagues at the BBC and, in particular on Channel 4, as well as many other media professionals were extremely helpful in achieving the goal. The author is very grateful to the British Council and the British Embassy in Slovenia, which financially supported her research work in Great Britain. Working in the media industry enabled the author to conduct more applied research work supported by distinguished professors from Slovenia and other countries. The book also reflects a tendency for networking between the research community and professional performance in the media production.

An important guideline in writing this book was the author’s view on media organizations as institutions for societal development and progress. However, the latter can be possible only when a medium observes social values, plays a supervisory role over societal actors and responsibly exerts its power of influence. Any media organization can successfully operate in the market if it transparently exercises the objectives of public and economic interests. Modern managerial approaches can serve this end, since they could be efficient tools to foster a quality media environment that contributes to the development of the whole society.

← 10 | 11 → 1. Introduction

The media environment has experienced considerable changes driven by technological, economic and political forces over the last decade. The characteristics of performance are changing and consequently organizations have to adapt continually. A television broadcasting industry governed by a market-oriented rationale is heavily dependent on both the rapidly changing environment and media players within and outside national borders. Overlap between media industries, mergers and acquisitions, removal of legal barriers, the growth of strategic alliances and partnerships among media companies, as well as the global entertainment media market and information; have contributed to the changed nature of media management.

Electronic media organizations play an important role in democratic society. Beside, supplying the public with entertaining, informative and other kinds of ‘products’, electronic media organizations affect culture and help shaping social reality (McQuail, 1994). At the same time, they are an important element of the economic system. Economic performance of the medium is becoming an increasingly important area of study, since media policy cannot be limited to political and cultural values only. At any event, media policy is becoming an essential part of the economic strategy of the whole society, and the fact is that the role of media is becoming more and more involved in overall societal development. Economic rationale argues for the most cost-efficient media production. Concomitant with political, social and cultural welfare, the economic principle constitutes the fourth dimension of the mass media democratic functions (Van Cuilenburg and Slaa, 1993).

Taking into account the reconciliation of demands that various stakeholders impose on the media, i. e. the public (for information and entertainment), owners (for profit), advertisers (for accessibility) and society (for fulfilling public interest), management and administration of media has become a very complex process. Media are obliged to fulfil various interests and observe technological development, changes in regulation and social trends. Their critical role in society also makes their management (Žilič Fišer, 2010). With its powerful impact on the society, television is an important institution playing a central role in the functioning of modern democratic society, especially in the transfer of values. All these characteristics and peculiarities of the environment in which TV media operate make the study of their management rather complex since it has to address various areas of scientific research.

← 11 | 12 → Market liberalism requires stricter performance criteria for public service institutions. In a market-oriented society crowded with private players tracking economic rationale and the highest possible cost-efficiency, transmission of such a rationale from the private to the public sector is a necessary trend. Mixing of private and public managerial practices requires setting appropriate standards for the functioning of a whole range of social services. From the viewpoint of television institutions, new management approaches are the answer to the challenges of the market: how to produce more with limited resources (production and programme capacities) in a heavily competitive market. The most essential demand imposed on the management of television institutions over the most recent period is the imperative for cost-efficient performance, involving not only economic efficiency but also operational and organizational1 efficiency. This demand is a consequence of the new competitive environment in which TV broadcasting services operate.

The book deals with the unique role of the television medium, coupled with the unique position of television organizations in the social system. TV broadcasters operate in a social environment marked by specific political, economic and cultural pressures. Therefore, we present different media systems and their response to the environmental challenges. In this book, the evaluation model for accessing performance and efficiency output of the managerial process combines traditional and economic measures of research.

The chosen method of research is a case study exploring different dimensions of the British public service commercial TV broadcaster Channel 4 and the Slovenian public service TV broadcaster RTV Slovenija. Operational efficiency refers to the productivity of organizational units and the quality of products; organizational efficiency identifies the organizational capability to respond to the changes in the environment.

The central research question how to manage conflicts of interests arises from the study of a hybrid – a public service and commercial broadcasting system. The purpose of this book is to study the managerial processes in a television system that operates in the public interest and at the same time pursues economic efficiency. Another challenge is to define possible approaches to bridge conflicts between the interests of the special social mission and financial efficiency. This book aims to contribute to the theory and practice of media management in ← 12 | 13 → general, in particular television, as well as to the wider field of communication policy.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2015 (June)
media organisation broadcasting management methods public service broadcasting performance of media
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 169 pp., 9 tables, 4 graphs

Biographical notes

Suzana Žilic Fišer (Author)

Suzana Žilic Fišer, PhD is Head of Department at the Institute of Media Communication at the University of Maribor, Slovenia. She is an external expert at the panel for the European Capitals of Culture for the European Commission. She was a General Director of the European Capital of Culture, Maribor 2012 and spent ten years in the media industry.


Title: Successful Television Management: the Hybrid Approach
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172 pages