Redefining public media
By the 21st century, the "total" pillarisation of society has disappeared and the member-based system is losing its reason of existence, especially for the younger generation. In this project KVD explored new criteria and forms of engagement that can measure the public support for the different broadcasting organizations. New tools to engage to public media will function next to the traditional membership system.
How can we measure the public engagement with Dutch public broadcasting organisations?
Unlike other European countries, public broadcasting in the Netherlands is provided jointly by a number of broadcasting organizations. These are member-based broadcasting organizations that share common facilities. This arrangement has its origins in the system developed in the Netherlands early in the 20th century and known as pillarisation (verzuiling in Dutch). Under this system the different confessional and political streams of Dutch society (Catholics, Protestants, socialists, etc.) all had their own separate associations, newspapers, sports clubs, educational institutions, and also broadcasting organizations. The stated aim is to give a voice to each social group. The number of hours allocated to each broadcaster corresponds, roughly, to the number of members each organization is able to recruit.
By the 21st century, the "total" pillarisation of society has disappeared and the member-based system is losing its reason of existence, especially for the younger generation. With 5 broadcasting organizations (AVRO, VARA, NCRV, KRO and Llink) we developed a vision on the future of public media and new ways of engaging with broadcasting organizations. On the basis of this vision new criteria for measuring a broadcasting organization’s success were defined, closer to the core values of public media.
The proposal includes a ‘new’ membership of which the essence should be to actively involve members in the content broadcasting organizations create. Similar to the old membership it is still a measure to determine how many people can identify with a certain broadcasting organization. The membership is about long term engagement.As a new criterium also the extent to which broadcasting organization create impact (evoke curiosity, promote tolerance, stimulate discussion, encourage exploring, educate people, etc.) will be taken into account. This type of engagement has a more short term and impulsive nature.